An Album Review: Technicolor Wolves’s Ventricles EP

by Alex of Daily Dares of the Daily Dares Blog

When I was 17 I was in a band called Roswell. We played covers of mostly power pop bands. We tried to write music with a power pop influence. I learned quickly that writing a good pop song was much more difficult than it seems. Especially a good hook. To this day I still appreciate a well written pop song with a catchy hook. One of my all-time favorite albums to this day is Weezer’s vastly underrated Pinkerton. One of my favorite bands of all time is The Promise Ring, of whom, a couple members have gone on to form another favorite of mine, a band called Maritime. As of now I am really digging the Los Angeles based power pop band known as Clark 8 and the current hype machine, yet deservedly, Wavves.

Within the past year, a band from here in the desert, Palm Desert specifically, has been playing and writing music with a power pop influence. I first heard of The Technicolor Wolves through the Coachella Valley Art Scene blog. I liked their name, although there have been a lot of “Wolf” band names lately, but that’s nitpicking. Sarah, of the CVAS blog, emailed me their latest EP entitled Ventricles. She asked me to review it and I obliged.
First and foremost, I think this album suffers from the Yngwie Malmsteem complex, meaning that good musicianship doesn’t always translate to good songwriting. It’s not to say that this EP is terrible, it’s just unmemorable. A good pop song should stay stuck in your head like a broken record and this never had any moments like that. I was bored halfway into each song. Writing this review its difficult to even recall any specific moments as examples. A good pop song should instantly take you somewhere, recalling a favorite lyric at the drop of a dime, almost instinctively it should make you want to sing.
Secondly, Lincoln Jesser’s vocals, although talented, seem almost out of place set against the backdrop of syrupy sweet power pop guitar lines and synth melodies. He reminds me of someone trying to conjure up their inner Zach Condon of Beirut fame, which just makes me want to listen to Beirut. His vocals almost clash with the instruments. Also, the lyrics are to wordy, as if there is some sort of identity crisis. Does he want to write a sonnet or does he want to write catchy song?
Personally, one of the things missing in their music is a kind of rough edge. I can equate this kind of lack of emotion to watching a live band with zero charisma. This is not a question of their passion, it’s a question of being able to convey true emotion through song. Pop music needs to make me feel compelled and a band this young should have a raw, hungry feel. This makes me feel like I’m listening to Jack Johnson with synth and electric guitars.
Yet I can see why lots of their fellow high school classmates would have been able enjoy this music. In a live setting, this music would be fun and dancey. It’s good, clean, fun that your parents would approve of.

Technicolor Wolves – Ventricles EP

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