Single Review – Laurel Heights by The Laughing Chimes (Self released) (2021)
I have two obsessions. Football (or soccer as the cringeworthy, ill-informed, insist on calling it) and jangle-pop music in all its various nuances. I also have two sons, who to my shame and chagrin are not interested in either. They prefer rugby and cricket (that will teach to marry a posh girl) and heaven only knows what music vomits out of their cellphones.
I love both my boys dearly, despite their weird sporting and musical peccadilloes and they both excel in certain things. I make all the right dad noises and I am intensely proud of their achievements. It’s just not ‘my’ things.
As such I (un)officially adopted the teenage, Evan Seurkamp, who is the teenage frontman of The Laughing Chimes after Meritorio Records released their superlative In This Town album in January 2021 (if you have not heard it yet, do yourself a favour and check it out here). This debut was not only was a jangle-fest but the ‘right’ jangle-fest, assuming references points to all the late 80s / early 90s acts that really mattered in finally demarcating the genre from power-pop.
Laurel Heights, their first release since then, thankfully does not move too far from the glorious template seen in their debut album, although it is perhaps more production accomplished, which adds an even more gregarious lucidity to the jangly riffs.
Essentially, fans of the Ric Menck / Paul Chastain acts such as Choo Choo Train, Bag O Shells and especially Sunflower era, The Springfields, will undoubtedly be endeared by the vibrant jangled riffs and melodies that trundle through the tracks core, finding the perfect eqilibrium between jangle-pop energy and that subtle sense of laconic ease, that all the best jangle-pop acts acquire.
Add to this the very slightest sense of the dulcet, wistful vocals and purposeful deliberation / emotionality that is akin to the Mark Mulcahy / Miracle Legion aesthetic and the listener gets the feeling they are listening to the reformation of a late 80s jangle-pop supergroup of sorts.
It really is that good…if ever it becomes apparent that young Mr Seurkamp can play football / soccer, then I might make Mr and Mrs Seurkamp an offer they cant refuse, to make him my third son !