For a band that’s name comes from a oft-forgotten Disney flick about a Jamaican bobsled team that captured the world’s hearts while finishing dead-last in the Olympics, Coolrunningssound exactly how you’d expect them to sound. And yeah, I do mean that in a bad way. The scruffy, southern, guitar-toting, ne’er-do-any-harm indie-rock band has made a scruffy, southern, guitar-toting, ne’er-do-any-harm indie-rock record in the strictest and flattest methodology imaginable. If Dracula is Only The Beginning is them giving us their best shot, they’ve been shuttered out of style with such feverish ineloquence you’ll wonder how they got written about in the first place.
Look, I’m not saying we don’t have stuff in common. We probably both grew up on a steady diet of Pac-NW proto-hipster rock, and I bet we both harbored a fantasy of being in a band throughout those years. But my god, you’re never going to hear a NPR-blogged tune as hollowed-out as ‘Thunderbirds’ again any time soon. Or a take on woozy noise-pop as utterly toothless as ‘I Can Be Dreamy’ again any time soon. Or a broken, Gary Glitter-aping guitar rumble as gawky as ‘CKSFAR’ again any time soon. Sure it’s noisy; if you’re nice you could say things like “rambunctious” – but without a meaningful song structure in sight all those catchy adjectives fall by the wayside. It’s a record that seems to come from a band that hasn’t written any songs yet, just a criss-cross mesh of brown-note tones and (wait for it) a fuzzy vocal channel. It’s not fun, profound, danceable, thinkable, likeable, or even all that hateable – this is empty-release-window music.
In short, records like Dracula are the kind of thing that the unacquainted use to call the indie-rock universe on their shit. If hipster-garbage had a calling card, it’d be Coolrunnings. They are a perfect example of getting caught up in the names, waves, and giddy, gimmicky chaff without first thinking about the music. The game don’t need them, and neither do you – in 2012 it’s impossible to fall for this shit twice.