Free and legal MP3:The Layaways (polished garage rock)

“Keep It To Yourself” – the Layaways

Hey, all three songs this week are between 3:16 and 3:20 long. That’s an old-fashioned radio-friendly length for three songs you’re unlikely to hear on the radio. Last up, a nifty bit of polished garage rock, if such a concept isn’t an oxymoron. Launching off a sonorous, rubbery guitar line that, melodically, echoes the hook from the Kinks’ “David Watts,” “Keep It To Yourself” has the big-drums/big-chords bash and concise melodicism of some Nuggets-era–um–nugget, with a welcome helping of shoegaze drone. The song itself is pithy and unadorned, but the presentation is cool, full-bodied, and impeccably controlled–not a note or sound is out of place.

Taking nothing away from David Harrell’s understated, slightly processed vocals, I think his guitars are the stars here, presenting alternately as zipped-up-tight rhythm, circular synth-like lead lines, and droney dissonance. When the three sounds combine in the second half of the song, we definitely arrive in one of those “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” places. It can’t be easy to make something this basically simple sound so fulfilling; it if were, everyone would do it.

You’ll find “Keep It To Yourself” on The Space Between, the band’s third full-length, which was self-released earlier this month by the Chicago-based trio. The album is for sale; you can also download all the songs as free MP3s on the band’s web site. Long-time Fingertips visitors may remember the Layaways as one of the bands featured on the late, great Fingertips compilation CD, Fingertips: Unwebbed. The rest of you, you should’ve been there.

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