Counting Cormorants With The Corner Laughers

Mmmm, sunshine. It’s nice, right? I don’t mean middle-of-Phoenix-in-July sunshine, I’m talking about Spring in bloom, first traces of warmth, doorway to summer, let’s get Giants tickets, debut of shorts and summer dresses, lay down in the grass, where did those frolicking puppies come from, fill my head with nostalgia, get me to the beach right now kind of sunshine. The kind that puts involuntary smiles on the faces of young and old, and puts a little grin on your heart for good measure.   It’s a universal good feeling!

That is the feeling of Poppy Seeds, the new album from Bay Area band The Corner Laughers.

It’s easy-breezy, jingly-jangly smile inducing summery chamber pop.  Karla Kane sings like a favorite old friend meeting up for tea and memories.  She occasionally shares vocals with band members Khoi Huynh, Charlie Crabtree, and KC Bowman, and their interaction works beautifully.  You will win me every time with a lyric like “I could count on Buster Posey to go two for three” (on “I’d Rather Count Cormorants With You”, an album highlight), and there are a lot more local references to the Bay Area, which I do find endearing.  But more than the lyrics, it’s the sound of this collection that touches me deepest.  It’s gentle and familiar, sometimes playful and silly.  It reminds me at different times of The Beach Boys, The Bangles, The Monkees, Matthew Sweet, She and Him, and so many more.  But mostly, it just reminds me of sunshine.  The good, mid-spring kind, with a beach near by, like I mentioned earlier.

Cynics will complain that this is simple and maybe a little lyrically cheesy.  These people also complain about sunshine and puppies.  They obviously have an agenda and can’t be trusted.  But you can trust me.  This is an easy listen that will make you feel good.  We’re not breaking new ground here, but the ground that’s being tread upon is familiar and friendly.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

Go listen to Poppy Seeds by The Corner Laughers.  My favorites today include “I’d Rather Count Cormorants With You”, “8:18”, “Laughing Stars”, and “The Perfect Weather”.  And “Chicken Bingo”  And “Grasshopper Clock”.  It’s all really good.

And for the record, a cormorant is a kind of sea-bird, also known as a shag.  There are over 40 species of Cormorant, so you could conceivably spend quite a bit of time together counting them.  I didn’t know this, I had to look it up.  There is a lot more information about Cormorants, and I welcome you to go study them yourselves.  I will not be answering Cormorant questions.

I’m also glad The Corner Laughers didn’t name their song “I’d Rather Count Shags With You”.  It just kind of changes the whole vibe.

Okay, go listen to Poppy Seeds now.


~ by themattmorrisshow on May 8, 2012.

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