REVIEW — SOTHEN — LOOKATCHURSELF REGGIE MEASURESWORTH (DAILY VAULT)
Vish Iyer June 08, 2007
The opening cut “Wanna Be” (if the real track 1 “Blinkpt” is considered an actual song at all) on the debut record Lookatyourself Reggie Measuresworth by Brooklyn-based Sothen starts off with the words “I don’t want a cheesecake or a new menu / I don’t want a newer hat / I don’t want a phony fuzzy pony / I don’t want a baby cat.”
This perfect attempt of adolescent poetry gets even better with the chorus “I just wanna be really mad for a girl,” which is just right for a band wanting to attract its target audience — teenage college kids, who, of all the music listening populace, are most likely to identify with this kind of reference to everyday details of their lives. Or are they?
Sothen does give the impression of a typical college indie band that makes fun guitar-based music with lyrics that will not send one running to the dictionary or leave one with hours of relentless contemplation just to get the vague references made by the band to things that are beyond the comprehension of a typical beer-binging party addict who doesn’t need to be bothered with music that should make them take time off from their days of youth to waste on heavier things in life that involve pondering and reflection.
But Sothen is not your typical college indie band. Although this trio (brainchild of singer/songwriter/guitarist Reggie Measuresworth) writes mostly poppy numbers that might every now and then encounter subjects that an uptight music snob might find a little too trite and puerile, these guys — unlike the rest of their kind — spend way less energy on trying to inject needless melodrama when they are trying to sing of their love not being received on the other end the way they want it to (and be all “emo” about it), and actually focus on being musically creative and giving a song the best sound possible.
These guys make a conscious attempt to actually make their songs sound interesting, and they get full points for that. They aren’t exceptional songwriters and none of the musicians stand out as extraordinarily brilliant. Nor does Measuresworth himself have vocals to die for. But just by being imaginative, they transform their songs from ordinary pop numbers to brilliant gems that even the aforementioned music snob would appreciate.
Sothen’s influences seem varied, and that shows in its music as well, which, apart form the fact that it doesn’t follow a set formula, has a nice diversity that makes the album all the more interesting: “The Red” has an shoegazer/ethereal pop flavor, while “End Of Summer,” without sounding like a ripoff of The Cure’s “Out Of This World,” does bear a stark resemblance to it. “Surprise,” “Nerve” and “Bight” are early ’90s indie rock/grunge, whereas “I Can See,” “Gold Eyes” and “Frozen Lawn” are frat-house staples that have the potential to be appreciated outside the confines of a frat-house as well.
Lookatyourself Reggie Measuresworth is a record by means of which (as expressed by the band itself on its website), “[Sothen] can rock out for you in your home or by your pool,” or in your car or at the gym or wherever you please. This can be a fun album and a serious one at the same time; it has something for all levels of music aficionados.