The debut full-length from California-based quintent Sherwood is fairly self-explanatory with one gander of the album title and cover art. It's an accessible collection of pleasant power-pop tracks that probably won't elicit pumped fists, floor punching, nor maniacal headbanging, but for what it is, Sing, But Keep Going is an accomplished batch of friendly songs that never drag nor dive into headache-inducing clichÃ©s.
The band has grown a bit for their debut full-length since the release of last year's self-titled EP, but it generally relies on the same formula, that being friendly, organ-dosed pop. While comparisons to label and genre-mates the Rocket Summer are both vastly tempting and a bit lazy, Sherwood's edge is in their strong vocals, undeniably tight musicianship, and a noticably less disruptive cheese factor. Granted, the record contains numerous vague romantic references and its like, and "Lake Tahoe (For My Father)" some xylophone bits even, but implementation of acoustics (usually during the chorus) and a consistently upbeat feel keep Sing rather consistent as well as a perfect balance between fun and serious. Fans of the act's previous material should be in the least satisfied.
Despite the continuation of SideCho's apparently recycled idea of trees on album covers, Sing's layout is quite impressive; vintage-shot photographs of the smiling band frollicking hillside adorn the liner notes with a "grandma's wallpaper" color scheme making up the remaining pages, all inside of a bright CD slipcase. Under the lyrics for each song, you'll find a band member or two discussing the motivation or such behind the track, and the aural sincerity in their sound is seemingly matched here in print. Keyboardist Mike Leibovich describes closer "The Last To Know" (whose closing fade could've benefitted greatly from a more climactic ending) as such:
The first time I played the demos for my parents, my Mom immediately loved this song. 'Play it again,' she kept saying over and over, until we had listened five times in a row. One night when I came home, this song was on repeat and her and my father were dancing together in our living room like they used to in their Beatles-concert-going days. 'It's just to short, why so short?' She kept begging for it to be a little longer...Again, Sherwood's Sing, But Keep Going is the sort of pleasant, tasteful indie power-pop that may not totally overwhelm a listener or incite deadly circle pits, but if its purpose is to serve up a nice, catchy compliment to bright, sunny weather and a cold, non-threatening beverage, it's succeeded.
The Town That You Live In
Lake Tahoe (For My Father)
Learn To Sing