Centro-Matic – All the Falsest Hearts Can Try

Centro-Matic
All the Falsest Hearts Can Try

Centro-Matic confuses me. On their newest LP, All the Falsest Hearts Can Try, they sporadically jump from both underproduced acoustic lo-fi numbers to poppy, piano-accented rock songs that find the audience singing along. Fortunately, Centro-Matic pull off both roles, with at least some degree of efficiency. So here’s the story of a little band from Denton, Texas (with a strong local following) that just happens to have two personalities.
Since this album opens with one of its lo-fi numbers, that is the personality I shall address first. “Cool That You Showed Us How” opens the album as a sparse little piano number that seems a little sick, but sweet nonetheless. The lead singer’s voice reminds me strongly of Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips (a good thing, most of the time). In fact, many of these lo-fi numbers remind me a bit of the Flaming Lips, without that band’s psychedelic leanings.
The next soft number falters. “Strategy Room” lacks both interesting lyrics and melody. It even gets a little repetitive. Fortunately, the band follows that track with one of the album’s strongest songs: “Huge In Every City.” The song is really different, with a chorus that sounds a little like something James Taylor would do – in a good way (hey my Mom plays that stuff all the time…I don’t listen to him…really, I don’t). The band uses this interesting chorus in a song that builds on heartache, and maybe a little hope. It works, to say the least.
The next two songs, “Saving a Free Seat” and “Save Us Tothero” are classic indie ballads that bring Pavement to mind (without, of course, that band’s ambiguous lyrics). “Gas Blowing Out of our Eyes” is yet another example of the slow-tempo balladry this group weaves, with effective backing vocals and heartfelt lyrics. So you get the picture. Slow little lo-fi pop songs that so many bands play. So this band is pretty boring, right? Well, not really. Fortunately this band can back up the balladry with some cool pop-rock too.
After the aforementioned slow-pop that opens the album, the band quite fittingly launch into the excellent “The Blisters May Come,” followed by another scorcher (by this band’s standards), “Call In the Legion Tonight.” The rock isn’t particularly innovative, but it still manages to be inherently better than most of the crap that hits the radio. This band rocks like Cheap Trick would if Wayne Coyne had fronted it. The rock on this record definitely recalls blissful summer FM tunes of the 70’s. “Most Everyone Will Find” is particularly interesting, presenting a much stronger hook than most indie-rock is used to. I could even hear this band on the radio, if radio cared to actually find the best music out there.
So have you heard this record before? Probably. In fact, you’ve probably heard both sides of this record: the rock and the lo-fi. Rarely though, have you heard a band that can combine both of the aforementioned genres into one fun, digestible nugget of pop sound. This band is good, if unspectacular, but they are a fair share better than most rock groups playing out these days.