Walking the fine line between goofy and cool doesn’t sound so hard, but throw in sans pretense and therein lies a challenge.
Look beyond Montreal for top-notch pop because Ottawa’s White Wires ask no questions and launch right into some of the most mind-embedding tunes you’re likely to find these days. Their self-titled debut, originally released by frontman Ian Manhire’s own Going Gaga Records last year, is a nine song blast-through that was re-released this fall by Atlanta’s Douchemaster (and rightly so – the initial release of 325 was difficult if not impossible to pin down; sigh of relief at this edition of 1000). If I told you I found this underneath a dusty cut-out bin, you might believe me. Minimal, hyper and trashy. If records came out of gumball machines, well.
Using the stick of a snotty-and-simple “yeah, yeah, yeah” and combining it with a trashy thump and jangle might sound boring, but that’s not the point. The White Wires didn’t make music to be talked about (ironically enough); it’s music made for a backyard BBQ in mid-July (or December), and the moment I knew I was invited was during “Stayed Up Late”: “Beware of the first time / Cause you know it’ll change your life.” Also heed their warnings concerning the incurable addiction of staying out past your bedtime, drinking tall boys with friends, while listening to singles released before you were born.
If you’ve been there, you know there’s no other place like it. Their subject matter serves you plenty of reminders: running away for a weekend (“Ha Ha Holiday”), rolling around in messy sheets with the opposite sex (“In My Bed”), being hypnotized by someone’s smile (“Girly Girly Girly”); if you’re looking for more than simple themes, you’re in the wrong place.
In short, The White Wires take the most inanely catchy hooks and combine them with pretty much every era of sweet, gritty stuff from the past five decades — the 50s pop, the 60s garage, the 70s punk, the 80s new wave and the 90s budget rock — crafting it together in a way that sounds familiar but not ripped-off. Eddie Cochran sends his praise. Belinda Carlisle and Brian Wilson are calling on three-way. Roy Orbison was done crying, so he turned up his amp and made somebody his bitch. The difference is these guys are all pop, no star and have nothing to lose.