Wickedly Catchy Britrock Anthems from the Reflections

by delarue

If you love catchy singalong riffs and choruses – or if you like the idea of Coldplay, but the actual thing puts you to sleep – Los Angeles band the Reflections are for you. They have a knack for big, anthemic, incredibly catchy retro British sounds. The songs on their album Limerence typically kick off with a hook and then take it in an unexpected direction: their signature sound is lush arrangements with simple, uncluttered, hard-hitting tunesmithing, often working a basic two-chord vamp spiced with all kinds of neat touches from guitar and atmospheric keyboards. The vocals are pleasantly nonchalant: think Richard Ashcroft without the affectations (ok, that’s an oxymoron, but give it a try). Lyrics are usually pretty much beside the point. The whole thing is streaming at their Bandcamp page; these guys would have been all over the radio back in the 90s.

The hypnotically vamping opening track, Disconnected is a dead ringer for one of the darker tracks on New Order’s Movement, with more dynamic vocals and digital production values. Summer Days goes steadily marching with staccato organ and acoustic guitar and builds to sweeping mid-90s Britrock a la the Verve. Daydreamer rises through a thicket of echo from a moodily resonant minor-key guitar loop to hypnotic, dreampop-flavored atmospherics with distant echoes of Pink Floyd. All Along and Looking Back each look back to the 90s for more of the lush, Verve-inflected minor-key anthemicness.

Ruthless, a portrait of a femme fatale, is darkly delicious, with soaring bass and an icepick guitar chorus that nails the song’s theme. In Another Life colors an 80s pop tune with echoey, wickedly catchy reverb guitar riffage. Until You’re Near, with its slide guitar and insistent piano embedded in nebulously Floydian sonics, is the slowest and most hypnotic track here. The final track, In Your Head, makes dreampop out of snarling 60s noir psychedelia. Who is the audience for this? Anybody who likes tunes that are catchy but not stupid.