Burning Down the House
Knoxville’s very own tribute to The Talking Heads , comprised largely of UT music students (blue-haired singer Curtis Geren , who’s nailed David Byrne ’s swaggering voice, guitarist Grant Geren , bassist Taylor Heiner , drummer Jeremy Cox , auxiliary percussionist Steve Corrigan , keyboardist Rusty Davidson , lead guitarist Josh Hobbs , and backing vocalists Sarah Clapp and Stacey Robertson ), have made a spirited and well-crafted replica of the band in its heyday. It wasn’t easy though, says Heiner, to summon the spirits of the band’s original members.
“You really have to get inside their heads,” he says. “You have to understand what they did, how they did it and why. You have to dig deep. [But] we love this music, so it’s a great expressive outlet for us.” Upcoming gigs include Sept. 2 and Sept. 15 at the Downtown Grill, but watch out also for a Halloween show at Barley’s.
Local CD Review
Senryu auteur Wil Wright leads the band through 10 reflections on life and love, delivered as catchy slices of pop confection with just enough accompanying grit and fiber to bring the rock. While the band would easily fit into the current indie-pop milieu, the music exists on a timeless pop/rock plane that encompasses everyone from Lindsay Buckingham to Big Star to the Buzzcocks . I’m not saying Senryu necessarily sounds like any of the aforementioned bands—it’s just that they’re creating classic songs that just might pass the test of time.
Key to Senryu’s charm are the close vocal harmonies of Wright and keyboardist Lori Maxwell . The pair’s lilting melodies add a languid, summer pop feel reminiscent of the Pernice Brothers , Todd Rundgren or even the Dandy Warhols. Of course, the band has its serious moments—and they’ve certainly put in their share of time under the tutelage of TheBeatles and Beach Boys.
While the album’s sound might not be described as high gloss, the production of Knoxville wunderkind, Don Coffey Jr. ,certainly rises to the occasion. Thankfully, Coffey steered clear of grating recording trickery or the use of the pernicious studio pox known as the autotuner. Everything on Psst sounds organic and true. Coffey makes the entire outing smooth and effortless, which actually requires quite a lot of focus, craft and artistry.
What we have here folks, is an appealing young band with sharp lyrics, catchy riffs, deft musical chops and the requisite cuteness factor. With persistence and a little luck, these guys could easily become critics’ darlings, fashion pinups, or even the next big thing. Swami predicts a bright future. Senryu’s CD release shows are Sept. 23 and 24.