Name your band after a party favor that’s seen better days, and you’re likely to convince potential listeners you’re all washed up. But if you’ve got the vitality and ambition to introduce yet another post-punk/new wave revival album to an already saturated market, why not? The only trick is to somehow be creative enough to catch the ears of all those discerning bloggers, which is getting to be more difficult by the day, regardless of how ironic or mildly clever your band name is (or what various celebrities may be endorsing you).
Enter Wet Confetti, the West Coast’s answer to all those female-fronted punk acts hailing from the East Coast in recent years. Karen O and Katrina Ford have a new rival in front woman Alberta Poon, the keytar wielding lead singer of Portland ‘s Wet Confetti. She may not have the screaming abilities of either aforementioned leading lady, but she can still hold her own among her peers. And did I mention she plays the keytar? Surely that must be worth some obscene number of cred points in some alternate music critique universe. She deserves respect just for being able to play the thing with a straight face.
In a move that, not surprisingly enough, is safe in its response to the multitude of post-punk and new wave revivalists making a resurgence lately, Wet Confetti combine keyboards, drums, and minimal guitar playing to produce a sound that is not so much derivative as it is conventional. Sure, the pulsating energy of the one two punch of “Make An Offer” and “I Can’t Refuse” (get it?) has the potential to soar above its simple approach, but will leave more discerning listeners ultimately sighing `so what?’
The menacing keyboard intro of opener “Touch It” is a bit misleading; what begins with real promise quickly fizzles into what has become routine among bands drawing influence from the ’80s, a sound that fails to put a new twist on the sound it emulates. It’s not derivative, it’s more or less the same.
Moments of greatness flicker on the crescendo-seeking “Dazzle Of Dynamite,” and the Celebration-like “False Alarm,” a track which benefits from a dual keyboard assault and succinct percussion. “Sorry Dinosaur” uses an ascending guitar riff to mimic Poon’s singing for mixed results. But aside from a few good songs, Laughing Gasping isn’t likely to leave listeners doing either.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Celebration – Celebration
Minus The Bear – Highly Refined Pirates