Doghouse Records is one of those labels that have gone through an unusual evolution in trying to ride the tide of the ever-shifting “underground” scene, whatever that means. In the mid ’90s they were signing bands like Threadbare and Cable (who they seem not to acknowledge in their catalog). Lately there’s been some success with more power pop acts such as Meg and Dia, Say Anything and let’s not forget The All-American Rejects. But the people of Doghouse have not been fruitless in putting out a slew of bands with divergent artistic visions (divergent from Meg and Dia at least). Bands like Celebrity and Koufax, to name a few of the more prominent ones.
Also of this clique is Limbeck, a band whose members hail from both the OC, CA and Milwaukee, taking pop’s light-heartedness with a certain degree of serious attention. Their bio on the Doghouse site assure potential listeners that Limbeck can be enjoyed—or in their words “appreciated”—by the Bamboozle and Bonaroo crowds. To an extent, the case can certainly be made. Limbeck’s sound meets at the crossroads of ’60s pop naiveté and post-millennial pop introspection. Most if not all of these songs are straightforward, hook-infected tunes set to melancholy lyrical narratives, both personal and observational.
More interesting, however, is the polished sheen of the production. This is not unique, nor unexpected when it comes to a band this pop-infected, but it is a testament to Ed Rose. Rose has helmed the soundboard for the brutal likes of Coalesce, so it’s impressive to hear that his production is the type that does not distract the listener from the music by manipulating it under his own trademarks. Rose has an attentive ear that knows how to bring out the best of a band’s unique sound. That sounds completely simple, almost as if anyone can do it, anyone with a deep sense of atmosphere, just ask Rick Rubin.
There’s no really complex way to put. Limbeck is the kind of band so straightforward that they will warrant a quickly drawn upon straightforward answer just as much. Their sensitivity will reach out to the average All-American Rejects fan, while their fascination with and dead-on execution of pure classic pop structure will no doubt tingle the little hairs of the ears of the average Shins fan. No one probably understands this more than Limbeck themselves, whose confidence and mastery cannot be easily clouded by modesty, which I’m sure they have stockpiles of in infinite amounts.
The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site
Lucero – Nobody’s Darlings