Pale Young Gentlemen - Pale Young Gentlemen (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Pale Young Gentlemen

Pale Young Gentlemen (2007)


On their 2003 album, Her Majesty the Decemberists, bandleader Colin Meloy proudly sang a song titled "I Was Meant for the Stage." This mentality of blending folky indie-rock with the livelihood of musical theatre may not have originated with the Decemberists, but it certainly has been more prevalent since their recent rise in the music scene. And few bands exhibit a knack for combining an astute theatrical sound with jangly indie pop quite like Pale Young Gentlemen.

Though Pale Young Gentlemen share some similarities with the aforementioned Decemberists, their musical direction is more akin to a combination of beer and showtunes than the latte and literature that Meloy's tunes evoke. One could see a slight resemblance to Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah! or Get Back Loretta, but the originality of the Young Gents keeps them from drawing many direct comparisons.

From upbeat sing-alongs like "Saturday Night" (which displays the band's obvious hardcore roots in its gang vocals) to the more dramatic ballads like "My Light, Maria," the album is able to travel a surprising amount of ground and never feels stagnant during its half-hour in the stereo. Lead singer Mike Reisenauer adds a delightful amount of emotion to each of his lead roles, while the rhythm section shines throughout, particularly the cello that adds an elegant layer to the disc.

Yet for all of the disc's strengths, there is something that prevents it from achieving the excellence that the band is capable of: the limitations of the format. The band sounds great on disc, there's no doubt about it, yet it feels as if this was meant to be absorbed in a live setting rather than on an iPod or a car stereo. Still, the band has put forth a strong disc that has few shortcomings. It's fairly shocking that this band is currently unsigned, yet I'm sure that will be short-lived, as this fun romp through the back alley of a rundown theatre is sure to get these young gentlemen (and their cello-shredding lady) some attention quite soon.