“Pearl and Oyster” has the casual aplomb of some forgotten nugget of early ’70s rock goodness. And it’s not so much that this California trio sounds precisely like this or that long-ago band as much as that they don’t especially sound like anything I’m hearing out of my trusty desktop speakers these days. Lead singer and guitarist Dan Chejoka has a chesty baritone with an elastic range, not to mention an engaging falsetto; behind him, his twin brother Nart, on drums, and their good friend Greg Johnson, on everything else, romp with determination and spirit through this sleeper of a song that has gotten about zero attention to date from the fickle and trend-obsessed blogosphere.
And pretty much everything you need to know about this one you can hear even before Chejoka opens his mouth, in the brisk and yearning introduction with its rubbery, soaring guitar line. That’s the sound of people not just looking to fill up space before the lyrics start, it’s the sound of a band with a story to tell that transcends words (which is what good music, even if it has words, should ideally do). The easy way the song unfolds from there–the elaborate melodies in both chorus and verse and the effective instrumental building blocks in between–is both delightful and matter of fact. Listen in particular to how the dramatic, falsetto-charged chorus builds to an emotional–but, interestingly, not a musical–resolution. I don’t think that’s easy to do.
“Pearl and Oyster” is from a debut album with a great title, The Nerve of That Ending, which the band self-released in October. MP3 via the band’s site, where the entire album is in fact available for free.