I might be the only writer on this site old enough to actually remember buying vinyl NEW and still in the cellophane from bygone stores like Licorice Pizza. Back then, pre-Dualdisc, deluxe editions, SACD and Blu-Ray technology, albums had maybe eight to ten songs on them maximum. In this day and age that’s apparently called an EP. I realize that I’m starting to sound like a rambling old man, and pretty soon I might start to resemble Grandpa Simpson telling his stories of pictures of bees on nickles and onions hanging from my belt because that was the style at the time, not the white ones, the big yellow ones because of the war. Anyhoo, I was talking about EPs. I have just listened to one from the Brooklyn band, the Pages, eight songs in length, which in my day, was an entire album.
The Pages are like a northeastern answer to the northwest. Because of the mid-range/low vocal harmonies of Grant Orsborn and Gabe Blair, most comparisons will be to the Shins, who, I know, are originally from Albuquerque, but live in the PNW. There are many similarities besides the vocals. The guitars are sufficiently jangly enough, for one. But where the northwest contingent seems more Beatles influenced, the northeast takes its cues from blues-based music like the Stones. “No One By Your Side,” for instance, is like a honkytonk version of a James Mercer tune. “At the End of the Night,” with its skiffle guitars and handclaps stands out as a particularly good example of the band’s pop sensibilities.
With a title like Creatures of the Earth, I was expecting some subtle Queen references as it is a line from their “The Prophet’s Song.” If the references are in the music, I seem to be missing it, or maybe it was coincidental. Maybe the likeness to the Shins is coincidental as well, because what seems to be missing are the trademark hooks and cryptic yet singable lyrics that the Shins put into nearly every song. The Pages have potential, oodles of it, and they could end up reaching it someday. Of course, I could turn around and they’d have dualdisc, deluxe, SACD and Blu-Ray versions of their music on the record store shelves. It’s all about perspective, I guess.