Listen Up: Wednesday, December 28, 2005
files\2005-12-28\lup1_12-28.jpg
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Rosebuds

Birds Make Good Neighbors (Merge Records)

By Caroline Collier

The honeymoon is over for The Rosebuds, North Carolinian spouses Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp. Their second full-length, Birds Make Good Neighbors, retains a touch of the pop romanticism that permeated their first c.d. while acknowledging the dark undercurrent that flows beneath the reality of marriage.

Over a seemingly innocuous, simple musicscape of guitar and drums, the husband-and-wife team creates an ominous mood via haunting tremolo keyboard riffs and accents, and the couple’s sometimes ethereal, often eerie vocal harmonies. The album contains a lot of throwbacks to the age not too long ago when pop musos glorified love in song — there’s lots of oooh-ing, ahhh-ing, la-la-la’s, and plenty o’ hand claps on Birds. The record rides safely on the 4/4 train of good ol’ fashioned rock-based songcraft, with nary an outlandish finger movement or semi-adventurous instrumental solo to be found.

On previous efforts, Kelly let Ivan sing most of the songs — not so this time. The cooperation works splendidly, especially on “Leaves Do Fall,” a hot satellite radio single. The number opens with a snare drum pumping locomotive-style as Kelly decries marriage’s ability to transform doe-eyed innocence into the paralyzing realization that adult life is full of challenges. On songs in which he sings lead, Ivan is equally tormented by growing up — and older. “Tell me now how things used to be,” he yearns on “Boxcar,” a guitar-driven power ballad. “But I’m not crazy / I’m just a little boy.”

Don’t get the idea that the Howard-Crisp bliss is in trouble. Gentle affirmations of the bond abound, even if — as on “Wildcat,” a weeper a-swirl with feathery acoustic guitar, watery keyb’s, and soft vocals — the lovefest occasionally borders on the schmaltzy.

The Rosebuds’ album-length expression is solid if sometimes uneventful from start to finish. Their handiwork shares with a good marriage several winning virtues, including the skill and wherewithal to live up to a carefully wrought vision in which storybook romance is tempered by reality. So far, so good for The Rosebuds — they’ve managed to tour the country and play smoky clubs without killing each other.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions