Thursday, August 4, 2011

Optimistic Reality

Every now and again I stumble, serendipitously, upon some music that lights up my life. Recently Amazon was running a great deal featuring 100 digital albums at $5. There is a part of me that hates to support Amazon because of what's become of Borders and all that Amazon seems to stand for. But I have to give them props; they've found a market and made it theirs. And $5 albums! What a steal. It took some of the risk out of exploring new bands or adding those albums to my collection that I knew as a music geek I should have and just hadn't managed to make it happen yet. As I was checking out the deals, I clicked on the samples for a band called The Submarines. The album cover was simple and slightly quirky, meaning either 1. super awesome or 2. trying too hard. In the first two seconds of the first sample "Shoelaces", my heart had found a new home. It was peppy, upbeat, strange in the most charming way with synths and bells and boops and pops. So great! I bought it. Right away. Since then, the whole album (their most recent release: Love Notes/Letter Bombs) has followed through on the promise of those first two seconds and has been lighting up my face constantly.

A few days after buying the album, I had a little bit of a heartbreaking encounter with a boy and while I did give myself the room to cry and grieve, instead of spiraling into a pit of despair, The Submarines came through and lifted my spirits. Every song is about a relationship - either the glories of one gone right or the sweet sadness of one gone wrong. The song "Tigers" goes in the latter category. But it's not the typical "You broke my heart, you stinking piece of filth, I hope you grow disgusting sores in all the wrong places" break-up song. Neither is it the "I want you back, oh baby, oh baby" kind either. Instead it describes the kind of picture we all wish we could have with failed or doomed relationships. The chorus says "You know I've loved you from the start/But this house can't make you stay/Sometimes these things just fall apart." All hope is not yet lost, but rational thought has set into the relationship and things simply aren't looking good. But the tempo, drums, synth and samples keep the world from crashing in. The whole album has that same optimistic reality to it - even the happy love songs are still rational and don't make you want to throw up.

I don't know anything about the band, except it's a guy named John and a girl named Blake apparently. But their blogs on their website are adorable ... just like their music.

If you've liked The Dodos, GIVERS or Freelance Whales posts, you're probably going to love The Submarines, too. I just can't seem to get enough of this happy groove.

Photo credit: Promo image from the interwebs.

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