Album Review – Songs for Christina Argentina by Roselawns (2021) (Cerro Gordo Recordings)
The name Roselawns, deserves associations with a late 80s / early 90s era, when simple, black vinyl singles (that you did not have to remortgage your house or sell a kidney to buy) were placed lovingly in covers of just two tones (usually including yellow) and released by by bands with equally simplistic names like The Springfields, The Hepburns and The Groove Train. These were just the purest of jangle times.
Whilst the aesthetic of this Californian duo of Sam Setzer and Antonio Gualco is not quite the lucid feel of such jangle royalty, you may be hard pressed to find a better recent example of all that was good about the same era, from a jangly, slightly fuzz-laden, power-pop perspective.
At it’s most dynamic Mexico Breathand TheSame are engulged by the late 80s power-pop vibe of The Vapour Trails, The Legal Matters or Danny MacDonald. All gilt-edged, hardened guitar riff deliberations, enthused with dynamic melodies that shine through the perfect grumble.
The apposite end of the power-pop spectrum is also perfectly represented in this release. Pretty Bad touches upon Lick era The Lemonheads, whereas the sumptuous slacker pop melodies of I Miss Me and Sharon proffer the same act in their It’s A Shame About Ray era, or indeed the introspection of Evan Dando‘s solo work.
In between the above styles lies the very best of this album. Here, This Way and the true stand out of the album, Tuesday Song(Niño) glide the most precious end of the sweet Dropkick and Teenage Fanclub sound into the mix. This can be dangerous territory to encroach upon, as it relies upon the portrayal of absolute beauty, however the Roselawns make it happen.
Without any fanfare in terms of publicity, social media, pre-release reviews etc, this Santa Cruz based act appear totally content just to let the music ‘get them out there’. If the music gods are in any way just, this will hopefully be enough to get this great album into as many ears as possible.