Cause co-MOTION! – “It’s Time!”

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

I bought this album because Slumberland was having a massive sale, and they are a label I inherently trust. Not everything I took a risk on that day panned out (sorry, the Saturday People), but I am charmed by this admittedly ridiculous effort. I am not sure if the album title requires quotation marks? What else is unknown here? Well, the liner notes provide no information on the band members’ last names or what instruments they play. A little research reveals that the band was from Brooklyn and this compilation was apparently their only full-length release. They have a history of playing with the Apples In Stereo and the Vivian Girls.

What I Think of This Album

This album is roughly 20 minutes long. Not a single one of the 14 songs here extends past the 1:45 mark. That’s not a problem for me. The sound is fresh, fun, and enthusiastically scrappy. It all sounds sort of thrown together, with a noticeable lack of low end. This is also not a problem for me, as the trebley sound is consistent with the aesthetic these guys are going for.

What aesthetic is that? Well, one of the songs is a cover of the Marine Girls’ 1983 “Falling Again.” Who the fuck are the Marine Girls? Exactly. I am only bragging a little when I say that I am familiar with both the Marine Girls and related spin-off Grab Grab the Haddock, courtesy of a Cherry Red box set I own (all the Cherry Red indie-pop box sets are essential purchases, btw). So if you like deceptively ramshackle, fast, clattery indie-pop, then this is a band for you. The key word there is “deceptively” – at first blush, you would be forgiven in thinking that these kids don’t know how to play their instruments; the amateurish quality is enhanced by Arno’s pitchy voice and the decidedly lo-fi production. But pay careful attention and you’ll hear some skilled playing that only sounds messy, almost certainly intentionally (producer Tim Barnes, an accomplished drummer (Wilco, Silver Jews, Sonic Youth, the Essex Green, Beth Orton), probably knows what he is doing).

This compilation gathers together singles and EPs as of 2005. There is little point in distinguishing between 90 second songs, but “Baby Don’t Do It” has a classic opening riff, nimble bass part, fine drumming, and some great guitar work throughout, including on the bridge; “This Just Won’t Last” is a caffeinated, push-pull blast; “Only Fades Away” has a neat, clean lead line and warm bass playing; Alex’s guitar divebombs menacingly on “Take a Look”; “Don’t You Know?” has wonderful lead lines from Alex (almost getting surf rock for a hot second); and “Who’s Gonna Care” is legit pretty. I don’t know – I like it, but it’s not for everyone.

In case you were wondering, the Marine Girls was Tracey Thorn’s pre-Everything But the Girl band. One of the gents who ended up in Grab Grab the Haddock later joined future Fatboy Slim and past Housemartin Norman Cook in Beats International.

The Best Thing About This Album

My favorite thing is drummer Jock’s crappy cymbal (apparently the only one he owns) that he constantly bashes.

Release Date

October, 2008

The Cover Art

This seems very typical of indie-pop bands from the ‘90s and ‘00s. It’s fine. I can’t recommend it to anyone, but it’s not awful.

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