"This Is Not Glorious" from the Heart EP
The Working Title's MySpace page boasts that the band has toured with the likes of Switchfoot and Counting Crows and that their music has even had the distinguished honor of appearing in the pop culture masterpiece Laguna Beach. So, naturally, I was terrified of listening to their new EP. Fortunately, Heart is not what one would expect to hear on a TV show about promiscuous and pampered teenagers. Banjos and toy pianos have no place on the California coast, and its subtle production value enhances singer Joel Hamilton's voice, creating an intimacy suitable for porches and dusk-lit backyards. This is a new direction for The Working Title, and it's a decent one. It's folky and more fitting for a band hailing from Charleston. It's certainly listenable. "This is Not Glorious" is an incredible reworking of an old song, creating a different feeling from the original that is much more effective. Heart is pretty and nice, but it's not the most memorable music I've ever heard. (www.theworkingtitle.com) —Susan Cohen
The Working Title headline a three-band bill at the Music Farm on Fri. May 30.
"Forever" from the album Freedom Wind
Although some may dismiss it as a derivative novelty, Charleston pop/rock outfit The Explorers Club's new studio collection might be one of the grooviest (and best) albums of the year, and one of the most enduring long-players to come out of the retro side of the scene. Recorded last year, the results of the Freedom Wind sessions are consistently pleasing, surprising, and clappy: "In the Country" and "Don't Forget the Sun" are some of the most powerful psychedelic pop songs ever heard out of Charleston, with a solid rhythm section, a hot organ sound, and chiming, hard-strummin' guitar, as well as highly melodic piano. "Last Kiss," "Lost My Head," and "Hold Me Tight" also benefit from brilliant singing. "Do You Love Me" makes use of saxophone and sleigh bells (one of the very few instances of real overdubbing). And then there's "Forever," the most successful song in their output and an amorous classic. The Club has a winner. (www.myspace.com/explorersclub) —T. Ballard Lesemann
The Explorers Club celebrate the release of this new album at the Village Tavern on Fri. May 30.