EP Review – Zoo Avenue EP by The Laughing Chimes (2022) (Slumberland Records)

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The Laughing Chimes are two teenage brothers (Evan and Quinn Seurkamp) from a small town in Ohio.
Of course we shouldn’t really like them, what with them being so young and already having their debut album, In This Town, picked up by Spanish jangle-meisters Pretty Olivia Records in January 2021, and then Slumberland Records (yes, “the” Slumberland Records) picking up this Zoo Avenue EP for a rare cassette release… bloody, snot-nosed show-offs coming around here with their jangle-laden talent. Who do they think they are?
Of course I jest. It’s difficult not to like this band and their unassuming romp through small-town boredom and a late-80s/early-90s jangle-pop aesthetic that they clearly adore. 
As such the album in initiated by a double salvo of Ice Cream Skies and Laurel Heights that offers the Menck / Chastain lucid jangle-pop brilliance of The Springfields and Choo Choo Train and twists Evan Seurkamp’s isolated, perfectly disinterested, made for jangle vocals through their very core.
Of course, the release could be filled with the aforementioned aesthetic throughout, and all the micro-blog sites that really matter would be falling over themselves to get it somewhere near the top of their 2022 best-of lists. The fact that it doesn’t demonstrates their appreciation for the eclectic nature of their chosen genre. 
As a result, Paul Heaton/The Housemartins-style vocals course through the jangly obtuse of the latest The Smashing Times sound (albeit with a fresher studio feel to the production) in the twang laden title track and the beautiful allure of King With The Hawthorne Crown, whereas a mixture of dulcet Dunedin Sound jangled riffs are caressed through the vibe of the earliest R.E.M. EPs in Cats Go Car Watching and Airplane Underwater.
The worry now is, should this duo go off to college, they might be infected by all that cool hipster malarkey that sees normal kids start “appreciating” outlier genres such as Albanian Techo, Wizards Sleeve Psyche etc etc. Let’s hope their parents spray them with hipster repellant and they just stay all manner of jangly perfect.
 

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