Shelflife Records presents "Work From Home," the debut album from NYC's The Consultants. Ten songs that create a beautifully layered and cinematic sound influenced by 80's new wave, shoegaze, indie and electronica.
The album begins with the lovely "Hollow-Bodied Evening," which sets the listener at a sign-less live-music club where all the boys sport ironic Sgt. Pepper mustaches and all the girls peak out from behind unkempt, pixie shags. Then the instantly memorable "Pop Pop" and "Snow Fell (It's Night)" feature a shimmering confection of layered melodies and a clever arrangement of whip-lash dynamic shifts. The throbbing pulse of "Contents of My Head," "Calling The Embassy" and "The Mark" swim through distorted guitars and Motown drums reminiscent of Velocity Girl's finest moments.
The Consultants are definitely a band to watch out for and "Work From Home" is an album that will provide essential mix-tape material for years to come.
Praise for The Consultants:
"New York twee-pop trio The Consultants are so indie that they make Belle & Sebastian sound like Cannibal Corpse. But their saccharine-chorused debut album has enough hooks and lovelorn lyrics to pass muster." - Pat Long (NME) "1988 revisited. That should have been the name of this recording. That or perhaps the tongue in cheek "the Subway Tapes". I have read that this band is part of a sect or "scene" on the east coast with a penchant for playing this type music. Being out of the "scene" (that means I don't make 4 hour one way drives to see bands anymore) I was not aware there actually was a scene such as the one described. In any case this band certainly has so plumbed the sound of that era, and by that I mean late 80's UK indie labels, that to me it is both quite nostalgic, and slightly blase'. The songs are mostly good to very good, and as exhibited by the leadoff track Hollow Bodied Evening they can be quite catchy as well. As my room is down due to heat and some remodelling I only heard this on my stereo once sadly, and not under the best of circumstances, but the record quality sounded reasonably good as well. In fact the only caveat I could even hold against this is my own personal peccadillo of being slightly bored by this period. In other words, I've heard too much and am too old. My dementia out of the way there is nothing stopping you from getting this disc. I own almost all of the so called "coveted" records from this period, the Charlots, Flatmates or even the Groove Farm, and frankly this is FAR better than any of those bands. I don't know how Ed keeps finding them, but another job well done." - Indie Spin Zone "Shelflife has one of the nicest website designs out there. Their CDs are equally nice looking. Their newest release, Work From Home by The Consultants is no exception; with its intelligent use of color and found photos collage this is the kind of album you'd pick up in the store thinking, "this looks great! What is it?"
The music doesn't disappoint either. I've only listened to The Consultants a few times and I'm already becoming addicted to their happy-making melodies and good-feeling energy, totally won over to their sweet indie pop sound that hearkens back to early 90's sounds like Velocity Girl, Lois and those super-fast Unrest guitar parts. Their hoppy-boppy happy songs benefit from nice production techniques like quiet xylophone in the background and super-sweet vocals layered to a dreamy pop perfection.
They're at their best when they are at their most twee, on songs like Hollow Bodied Evening. Pop Pop, and Contents of My Head. The only complaint about this album is that the production and engineering are somewhat irregular; a few of the songs sound a bit muddy, and a few sound a bit too hard-rocking in a shoe-gazing kind of way in relation to the sweet sound of the rest of the album (Internet Love Letter comes to mind). But these are minor complaints - this is a really good record.
The Consultants make me want to be 18 and nerdy and in love and I guarantee that if you ever loved indie pop, you will love this band."- Left Hip Magazine"And if ever there was a more aptly titled song than this one, I swear I never heard it either. Or I've just got an acute case of selective long-term memory failure. Whatever, this is a great Pop moment in the vein of Tiger Trap or Henry's Dress (Amy Linton's marvellously shambolic pre-Aislers Set band) and I love it dearly. The Consultants are another element in the East Coast Pop Rennaisance, and alongside their compatriots like the Pathways, Pants! Yell, Soltero, My Teenage Stride, Metric Mile, The Besties etc, they are making my life a delight where my jealousy at not being able to see these groups play every other week is tempered by the fact that I can listen to them every night in my Geek Lair. Oh, and it should be noted that The Consultants do share members with the fantastic My Teenage Stride, and that they made up some the band that backed the legendary Bid on his recent New York show at the Knitting Factory. It is important that these details be recorded for posterity, even if it's only us geeks who really care. Okay, even if it's only me who really cares. Sigh. From their Work From Home set for Shelflife. Go get it! " - Tangents "Is there a better feeling than when you put a great pop album on the stereo for the first time? One where bright, catchy, downright perfect melodies bounce along with an optimistic sense of urgency, while sung in a sweet, soft, slightly sad way? The NYC-based band The Consultants' debut Work From Home is one of those albums, perfectly formed and ready to invade your heart and mind.
Album-opener "Hollow-Bodied Evening" is the perfect introduction to the band's sound. Lead singer/guitarist Marisha Chinsky paints a vivid scene of a sad night on the town, in search of connection, while the music consists of the upbeat shuffle of your dreams. The rest of the album matches that great start. In the textured, thick yet melodic guitar and bass lies the Echo & the Bunnymen/New Order/'80s influence that the band and fans are likely to mention from time to time, while Chinsky's vocals and the generally energetic tone give the band a classic indie-pop feeling, reminiscent at times of Heavenly and Tiger Trap.
The Consultants' descriptive lyrics nicely set up a scene and then also load it with feeling. Titles like "Contents of My Head" and "Internal Monologue" are appropriate to the impression that the band's songs give voice to one person's view of the world, through particular moments, fully realized in song. Several songs capture that universal human feeling of uncertainty - what should I say, what should I do, what's going on with my life.
As the album proceeds towards its inevitable end, its sound gets hazier and dreamier, while the emotions and melodies remain just as potent. The band's web site declare that the album "will provide essential mix-tape material for years to come." That seems like a minor claim at first, but the more I think about it the more appropriate it seems... not only because any song on here would sound great on a mix tape, but because of the songs' warm, honest, personal quality. In other words, they're songs that fans of pop music will hold near and dear to their hearts." - Dave Heaton (Erasing Clouds)"The fall and winter of 2004 was like a vacuum to me. I can only tell you so much, but let's just say it had a lot to do with a certain girl who broke my heart. The oldest story in the world, I know, but that's when "Hollow-Bodied Evening" by The Consultants became my song. It set my feelings to music so perfectly that it actually hurt. One weekend I fled to Lund, and the whole journey down, my portable cd player vibrated because of this song. This made the other tracks on the mix-cd irrelevant. On the way home, with too many icebears (the drink that is) still left in my body, it shook even more.
In an interview I did with the band on Le Manchester, singer Marisha Chinsky told me about the song. It's apparently about a bad night in a club in their hometown, New York City. She thought she could drink vodka tonics and dance with the perfect indieboy, who would fall in love with her. It didn't work out that way however. I myself, had many bad club nights that fall, and they usually ended with too much drink, and too many phone calls with red eyes full of tears. The line "It's true, I won't go home with you" seemed to fit my experience all too well, but as a matter of fact, "Hollow-Bodied Evening" was more than just feelings. The song has a perfect intro, a perfect guitar riff, a perfect melody, and a perfect break. It is a perfect song on so many levels.
"HBE" is the first song on The Consultants debut album, "Work from Home" and that beginning, considering my relation to it, could possibly make me salute anything. I suppose the word objectivity doesn't really apply to that song, so at first, I ignored it and gave the other tracks my full attention. In the interview I asked about inspiration and what decade the band thought of as the most important musically. "The eighties", said guitarist and drummer Brett Whitmoyer, who is the other writer in the band. It shows immediately, as new wave, classic indie, and shoe gaze seem to fill their record shelves. Most of the music is reminiscent of the best of Echo & the Bunnymen guitars, New Order rhythms and Talulah Gosh harmonies. One of my favorite aspects about The Consultants is the total teamwork between the musical parts. The guitars, the vocals, and the rhythms are all jigsawed together so perfectly. The sense of how a rhythm guitar should be used has rarely been so sharp and the riffs are among the best I've heard. The chords are the most common ones, but here, they feel like new inventions altogether, with Marisha' s vocal melodies and the clever arrangements. Just listen to the phenomenal "Pop Pop", with its distorted jangle of a guitar riff, and four-note lead melding perfectly with the glockenspiel. The inventive drum beat and the accordion in the background lifts me up to pop heaven. Other tracks, such as "Calling the Embassy" and "The Mark" are nothing less than pure and pulsating joy. The industrial drumbeat of "Internal Monologue" is beautifully borrowed from Joy Division's "She's Lost Control". Over this groove, Marisha sings with her Amelia Fletcher-like shimmery voice, which somehow makes it all their very own. This is a great example of the tasteful links between references and their own style. The final song, the Ride-ish, "Talking To No One" delivers more lines taken from that fall and winter, as Marisha sings "I hope you don't call, but I want you to". If you would have connected a computer to my head and printed out my thoughts that is exactly what would have come out. After the final distorted chord fades to a soft ticking, I press play again and the first track, "Hollow-Bodied Evening" begins. Amazingly, I had almost forgotten about it for a while, because of the other hits on this album.
This is MY band, but you are most welcome to join me." - Markus Bergström-Björn (Common Paper) "NYC's The Consultants, another terrific find by Ed at Shelflife Records, mix quite a few pop styles into one happy stew and it all works. Essentially a trio, the band gets help from a wide array of musicians and the sound is remarkably full and occasionally sophisticated. "Hollow-Bodied Evening" (great song title!) sounds like prime Velocity Girl, right down to the airy vocals of singer Marisha Chinsky (and the guitar leads of other band leader Brett Whitmoyer) while "Pop Pop" grinds out 3 minutes of chunky goodness. Other tunes will bring to mind a new-wave beat ("Contents of my Head", etc.) and "Internal Monologue" is a dead ringer for another Shelflife artist, Language of Flowers (who are a dead ringer for Heavenly). At 10 songs in 32 minutes these guys have, on their debut record, perfected the art of creating a seamless pop record that is the ideal length." - Tim Hinely (Dagger) "Marisha Chinsky's breathy, high-pitched vocals and Brett Whitmoyer's one-string leads and new-wavey chord progressions combine to give Work From Home a refreshingly light touch, akin to fellow Brooklynites Palomar (or, to reach a little further, all those gossamer girl-pop bands from the Nineties like the Swirlies, Velocity Girl, and Juliana Hatfield.) The lyrics when you can hear them - and you often can't, which is my one quibble with his disc are cheeky, ironic, self-deprecating stabs at modern relationships. The characters in Marisha's songs don't write love letters and stare wistfully at the moon they trade emails and post their heartbreak on their blogs. Giddy, romantic, and flavorful (Mike Hollitscher's polyrhythmic basslines go places most pop bands don't, and Tris McCall adds dollops of delightful synth in spots,) the Consultants are just the thing to brighten your day or kick off your evening." - Jim Testa (Jersey Beat)
Work From Home
Catalogue number: LIFE056
Artwork by: Bügelfrei
1. Hollow - Bodied Evening (mp3)
2. Pop Pop
3. Snow Fell (It's Night) (mp3)
4. Contents Of My Head
5. Internal Monologue
6. Calling The Embassy
8. Internet Love Letter
9. The Mark
10. Talking To No One
ON THE WEB:
www.myspace.com/theconsultantsband PRESS DOWNLOADS:
Cover art hi-res