Black Tambourine - OneTwoThreeFour [double 7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Black Tambourine

OneTwoThreeFour [double 7-inch] (2012)

Slumberland Records

Band reunions can be a delicate issue, but, luckily, Black Tambourine proves to have lost none of its shimmering, shining lo-fi ‘n' twee sensibility on new release OneTwoThreeFour. Granted, this double seven-inch consists solely of Ramones covers, but who's going to knock that? While the punk rock founding fathers might seem unlikely heroes to a shoegaze band, the transition isn't that farfetched.

Granted, it helps that Black Tambourine chose songs that suit its strengths. The band doesn't take on anything too aggressive, like, say, "Wart Hog," although that would have been awesome in its own way. Rather, the band finds common threads when it can and uses them to adapt the material. Johnny Ramone's buzzsaw guitar technique isn't that far off from how Michael Schulman plays, but throw in a whole lot of echo and gloom, and suddenly the tracks sound a whole lot more gothic.

The records have a rising A-side/falling B-side approach. Both "I Want You Around" and "I Remember You" pack haunting yet beautiful vocals and dissonant, swirling guitars. "What's Your Game" and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," however, come off like retro Shangri-Las pop gems. Both approaches work.

Really, OneTwoThreeFour is an ideal release from Black Tambourine. It doesn't tarnish the band's legacy, and this Ramones tribute might very well earn the group some new fans who have been digging on the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Besides, for a band that always worked in fits and spurts anyway, a double seven-inch is probably the most one could hope for.