Friday, October 16, 2009

Another feather in the Bay Area's hat

Artist: The Splinters
Title: Splintered Bridges b/w Sorry
Label: Double Negative
Release date: Summer 2009

The Splinters, an Oakland-based all-girl band, had their first single released recently by Double Negative Records, and these two brief songs will leave you wanting them to make an Atlanta tour stop soon or, better yet, release a full-length album of punk and folk-inspired pop songs.

Since they split vocals and maintain a sense of fun while singing about personal politics, it would not be a stretch to say The Splinters are a lot like Austin’s Finally Punk or Atlanta’s incomparable Coathangers. The Splinters rely on solid lyrics and harmonies more so than those other bands, though, as they avoid the 40 seconds of shouting or Casio keyboard sound effects routes (which is not a knock at being angry or a little weird).

The a-side, “Splintered Bridges”, first appeared on the band’s self-made demo CDR, and it was cleaned up for this release without diminishing its rawness. This, like most other Splinters tunes, is a tambourine-shaking good time highlighted by multi-girl harmonies. “I don’t want you to go away, but I don’t want you to stay” is the chorus, and that stays true to the traditional punk anti-love song that has been revisited recently by this band and others, like Brooklyn’s Ex-Humans on their “Chicane” single.

Its flipside, “Sorry”, is a strange brew that sounds like a cross between 90’s folk-pop lyrics and the riffs from a Captain Sensible solo record. This one keeps saying “I’m Sorry If That Offends You,” as if the girls are showing they are compassionate, but that is not going to get in their way when it comes time to be themselves. Some of us, me included, need to be more like that.

To sum it all up, this is folk-influenced music played by grown-up punk kids. It’s like The Dutchess and The Duke if their music was not so depressing.

The Splinters are another feather in the Bay Area’s cap, so to speak, as that region is filled with great music. In addition to The Splinters, they have The Pets, Ty Segall, Personal and the Pizzas, Nobunny, Buzzer and dozens of other great acts. Sometimes, I think I would rather live in the pretend Bay Area than pretend Brooklyn.
How could I not be in love with this?

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