Under The Bed

Josh And The Empty Pockets

Independent release, 2009


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Today's review, O Ye DV Faithful, is called Why We Actually Listen To The CDs Instead Of Just Reading The Promotional Material. See, I have to admit something: if all I had done was read the promotional flyer that came with the new release from Chicago's Josh And The Empty Pockets, I would have blown them off; it’s not a major selling point for me that their music is featured on several Nickelodeon shows. Believe it or not, though, I do try to listen to everything I'm sent, at least once -- and in this case, I'm very very glad I did. Because my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Under The Bed is tight, melodic, layered, harmony-drenched rock/pop, and one of the better new CDs I've heard this year.

JatEP started life out as a Buddy Holly And The Crickets tribute band, and the influence of clean, simple pop music with heavy harmony still shows. Their sound is reminiscent of The Muckrakers, Cheap Trick, or a more melodic Barenaked Ladies. It helps a whole lot that their songs have enough hooks to land Leviathan, and their musicianship is great, too. (Specific kudos to lead vocalist Josh Solomon, whose guitar playing is a joy to listen to. He can flick back and forth from acoustic to fuzz-laden electric without losing a beat.)

Under The Bed is deceptively basic at first; it’s only on repeated listenings that I realized that under the pop beats were some pretty incisive lyrics and a few neat turns of phrase. Songs like “Fall Right Now” (the first single, a humor-laced complaint about badly timed emotional entanglement) and “Freedom To Me” (which gets the Stephen Stills Award for best liberal political commentary in a three-minute rock song) are full of rich imagery and a gentle wit that contrasts well with JatEP’s straight-ahead style.

Besides the aforementioned “Fall Right Now” and “Freedom To Me,” I particularly liked the wordplay of “Missteps,” “Side Effects,” and “Monsters,” all of which are both great pop songs and lyrical tours-de-force.

Josh And The Empty Pockets have a bright future. They play intelligent, well-crafted pop/rock with substance that still manages to not get bogged down in its own importance. Buddy Holly would be proud.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.