Fairytales and Other Tales - EP
* * * * (4/5)
Few bands do a better job of balancing edgy and cute than this all-star Bay Area ensemble. The Audiophiles’ peppy indie/blues/rock is exactly the type of music you’d expect from a band featuring former Li’l Billies/Juvenile Dukes guitarist Greg Fleischut, punk rocker Nathan Pastor, and neo-bluesman Jeremy Lyon. Plus, it’s genuinely Fogtown in the way it embraces both the mist and the sunshine--and a fun blast of nostalgic rock n' roll.
There are four tracks on this CD, all moderately lengthy (four to five minutes). Each one is very different, but they all feature textures that recall Sixties Bay Area bands like the Dead and Creedence, plus Fleischut’s bone-dry, annunciated vocals. “Fairytales” features a rhythm-guitar-as-bass groove identical to Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Trio composition, hosting evocative lyrics and rubbery lead guitars. “Mountain Song” is a rootsy jam in which Fleischut prophetically sings of “the shape of a century changing for me” over clattering drums and CSNY timbres. The glorious “Nerd Chic” is a comical ditty that shrugs off an annoying geek’s complaints with smoky wah-wah guitars and hilariously awful scat vocals. And then the magnificent finale, the aptly named “The End."
“The End” is a truly remarkable piece, going everywhere put staying in one direction. It shifts back and forth between luscious shoegaze and peppy garage rock, going everywhere but never sounding forced (or more importantly, like a joke). About three and a half minutes in, the boys skip it up like bratty suburban punks, keeping everything mature with those awesome harmonies. It’s a spectacular ending to a spectacular EP.
Fairytales and Other Tales is a great listening experience, catapulting your psyche into the ‘60s as your feet are firmly planted in today’s indie world. Sure, Greg Fleischut's lyrics and vocals might be a little cutesy for a lot of people’s tastes, but if you can look past that aspect of their music and focus firmly on the boogie in the background, Fairytales is proof there’s still hope for good old-fashioned rock in the world of Ke$ha and Lil Wayne. The Audiophiles are presumed defunct after a mysterious "farewell" concert at Slim's in March 2010, but let's hope they bounce back, along with rock n' roll itself.