The Laureates – The Laureates 7" EP

The Laureates
The Laureates 7" EP

The music of Chicago is perhaps more varied than any other city in America. Post rock, grunge, hardcore punk, jazz, blues, the Windy City is an anomaly in the wealth of talent that springs forth. Cutting to the center of it all are The Laureates, a new 4 piece with only a few shows and now a 4-song EP to speak of. By getting to the basics of rock and roll with a touch of early British influences their first foray into a recorded output is a fun and energetic burst with a surprising maturity.

Opening strong and improving until the end, the self titled 7” is a crash course in early garage rock and ends up somewhere around mid period Guided By Voices. Guitars are fuzzed out and the vocals are awash in reverb, the bass pulses along and cymbals crash all around. In the true spirit of old fashioned rock n’ roll the lyrics aren’t life changing- problem solving manifestos, more “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” than “Village green Preservation Society.” Starting off with “I Want To Miss You” the group bursts open with chords we’ve all heard many times before but you can’t exactly say from where. It’s classic Nuggets bliss with descending chords and half intelligible vocals.

Second track “Witching Boots” keeps toes tapping with it’s bouncy bass reminiscent of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ “Ballad Of The Sin Eater.” It manages to steer clear of the mod-punk lyricism of Leo however with the catchiest melody on the EP. “Hello, Hello” is where we get into the Bee Thousand/Alien Lanes-era GBV with big crunchy power chords acquiescing to single note reverberations. A 3 note solo and a fade out later all it needs is a nonsensical title to make Pollard proud. The brief EP ends triumphantly with “The Warm Son”, a blistering opening if ever there was one.

There is a definite feel of yearning and angst but without the cocksure nature of most guitar based Midwestern bands. This is where The Laureates show they are wise beyond their young rock years. They aren’t here to show their chops or wow you with flash, they are far more subtle than that. For a band with only a handful of gigs under it’s belt there’s a surprising amount of maturity to be found. Put down those OK Go CD’s and pick yourself up this fine new 45 of real power pop rock.