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Thursday, February 27

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Transmission
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Concert Thu Nov 01 2007

Clap Your Hands Say Welcome

PaleYoungGentsPic.jpg

It seems that every passing year of indie rock brings with it at least one completely out-of-left-field self-release success story. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah cooled off 2005, Tapes ‘n Tapes rocked 2006, and 2007 now belongs to Pale Young Gentlemen (sorry, Radiohead, does not actually count).

Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, Pale Young Gentlemen play the kind of classically-inspired pop rock that is becoming almost commonplace in today’s musical landscape. Orchestral arrangements abound in many an indie rock outfit so the kind of music they’re playing—pop melodies mixed with swirling strings and bouncy, cabaret-inspired piano—isn’t exactly new, but there’s something fresh about the whole affair. First, the obligatory cellist (Liz Weamer) is actually an integral part of the music, not shoved into the background like in most pop bands; her work is a focal point of the melodies, rather than relegated to a fill-in-the-holes kind of status. Additionally, the focus is on the arrangements, with songs as compositions, complete movements and carefully constructed choruses, more overtly classical than their contemporaries.

But what really sets the Pale Young Gentlemen apart is their flair for the dramatic. I imagine at some point these cats probably took a few theatre classes, as their presentational style would make Kurt Weill, Jacques Brel and the Tom Waits of Black Rider proud. “Saturday Night” swings with a bawdy melody, while “Clap Your Hands” shakes and shimmies just enough to make any young man or woman do an awkward, half-drunken turn around the barroom. “Fraulein” dances a rock’n’roll waltz about unrequited love that avoids lapsing into over-the-top quirkiness. The tracks are carefully measured but still remain loose and while lead singer Michael Reisenauer occasionally approaches Chris Martin territory that misstep can certainly be forgiven, because there’s something really exciting about these new musical voices. The drool that critics have laid at the doorstep of Pale Young Gentlemen’s eponymous debut is justly deserved and it’ll be exciting to witness how they handle their newfound success, both personally and artistically.

For now, you can catch the Pale Young Gentlemen as they step away from their humble home to the north for a show this Monday, at the Hideout, opening for the Panda Band.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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