Another Corona/Riverside band determined to dispel the stereotype of the IE as a dumping ground for atrocious, unlistenable vomitrawk, Winston & the Telescreen are instead the 180-degree flip of that scourge—sort of a smoggier Belle & Sebastian, and without the grating twee. They (and their fans, or at least their MySpace pals) also drop the Coldplay adjective on them, which we think is an insult—to Winston & the Telescreen, as Coldplay are, in fact, the most overrated sack-o-sick to immigrate across the Atlantic since Robbie Williams.
We’d much rather see Winston anyway—cheaper tickets (natch), less undeserved hype and better music, ascertaining from this triumphant quartet of tunes. “Venus on the Rocks” is a waltz, of all things, yet brief enough to keep your ADHD-addled self enraptured, with a pop hook that reels you in. There are moments where you think they’ll collapse in a pile of lame, nasally emo-swill, but their better aural instincts are spot-on (notice the doot-doot-doots that pockmark “Let’s Pretend We’re . . ,” in which lead crooner David Tetz kicks his voice into an enthralling soprano—that, or someone went and punched him in the scrotum. It’s a song that may lyrically flirt with emo (a guy/girl psychodrama where the dude just wants to be understood), but it’s too cool to actually be emo—that genre is so 1998, anyway.
“Boyfriend,” though, does flirt with ultra-catchy Brit-pop, the track where the band reveals their secret desire to have been birthed in Manchester or Birmingham. Maybe the best download here, though, is “Two Minutes Hate,” a calling-out to a swath of human tribes that annoy them, for whatever reason—pretty people, right- and left-wing mouthpieces, lovers, mothers, sisters, brothers, rock stars, pop stars, zine kids, mean kids, wear-your-girlfriend’s-jeans kids (huh?), all scrunched up around a chaotic swirl of piano, funeral-parlor organ and all-around pissiness. A dangerous move, as this instantly makes them a target for vitriol—well, it would, except their music is good enough to back their mouths up.
Song clips and info at their MySpace page.
Attention, Riverside/San Bernardino County bands and musicians (you too, Claremont, La Verne and Pomona)! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Band of the Week, IE Weekly, 2175 Sampson Ave., Ste. 118, Corona, CA 92879. Or be lazy and e-mail us your MySpace page link to firstname.lastname@example.org.