Pop. It doesn't have to be a bad word. Yeah, when it's of the bubble gum, Disney-channel approved nature, no one over the age of twelve should actually believe that it's what authentic music is, but sometimes there's a band that comes along that makes listening to pop music fun without the embarrassment.
Get It is the first full-length album and major-label release from Seattle band the Lashes. Okay, the fact that the band members all sometimes substitute "Lashes" as their last names is on the side of roll-your-eyes embarrassing, but as a band that is attached to the label of pop, the Lashes make a strong case for why you should still listen.
So to get the whole "what they remind me of" thing out there, after listening to the album several times and driving myself crazy trying to figure out what it was that the Lashes' sound reminded me of, I came up with this: pop, with some classic rock'n'roll style thrown in, and then mixed with some sweeping Broadway showtune flair. Kind of a weird combo, I know, but it works for the collection of songs on Get It -- and I mean that as a compliment.
Lead singer Ben Clark can belt out powerful melodies, flirt with the lines of a chorus, and leave you singing along, trying to imitate the theatrical undertones in his vocal delivery. Jacob Hoffman's presence on keyboard both enhances the theatrical edge and mixes well with the standard rock-group performers, which, for the Lashes, includes Mike Loggins on drums, Eric Howk and Scotty Rickard playing guitar, and Nate Mooter -- highly recognizable with his mop of curly hair -- playing bass. The songs "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" and single "Sometimes the Sun" highlight the ability that these guys have to create strong, catchy songs -- even if the lyrics of some do get a bit too repetitive -- and "Dear Hollywood" demonstrates the ability they have to effectively tap into a more emotional, heartfelt sound. I'm not sure if any of the songs on Get It will be able to outshine "Death by Mixtape" from The Stupid Stupid EP the band put out in 2004, but they definitely make for some good companions to it.
As an additional note to add to the credibility of the Lashes, their sound is not the result of smooth production tricks. At a recent in-store performance at Seattle's Sonic Boom Records, the Lashes proved that they can, I thought, sound better than they do on their album, even when performing in the corner of a hometown record store. During songs, the band members threw some power behind their songs that I didn't hear on the album, and between songs they made corny jokes. So much for rock star attitude. They seemed like six guys standing on the cusp of their dream, fighting for it and enjoying every moment of getting there, with humor and gratefulness intact.
The people who still believe in pop as the beginning and end of music (and probably in Santa Claus too, if that's where they're at) are going to like the Lashes, which unfortunately means that their shows will probably grow in the population of teen girls who can't stop squealing over how hot they think Ben is, but the Lashes deserve a more diverse fanbase than that, a fanbase that includes people who care more about the talent behind their songs than how many belts Ben wears.