The last time I checked in with Alan Singley (back in November for this edition
of my weekly column), he was super-stoked about the direction his new songs were taking. Singley, whose known for high energy psych-rock as much as introspective folk, had just completed his “first fancy, fancy arrangement [with] horns and viola,” and felt that soon-to-be-complete album Feelin' Citrus
would mark a new, fully orchestrated sound for the band.
True to form, "Today is a Postcard" begins with a grandiose and loungy guitar 'n' brass melody, nodding more to Singley's Bacharachian tendencies than his Phil Spector leanings. The light and constant high hat adds to the swingin' vibe, and the song's lofty vocals and heartfelt lyrics—all pleasant imagery (birds chirping, bike riding, etc.), romantic confessions and lazy day details ("We'll touch the breeze together")—are unmistakably Singley. The song has touches of indulgent grandeur and subtle tropicalia, as well: Take the swelling refrain, "It feels so good when you're home," and the delicate high-neck guitar of the song's swanky outro.
Looks like it's more songs about biking and girls for Singley—but this time his penchant for retro aesthetics has as decidedly smoother, mature bent. Makes me all the more eager for Feelin' Citrus
, which Singley says is still shopping for a label. Until then, it sounds like Singley himself is "coming home"—in just as celebratory sonic regalia as the subject of this song.
Alan Singley & Pants Machine play with Southern Belle Thursday, April 17, at Dunes. 10 pm. $3. 21+. Also Tuesday, April 22*, with QuiVaH, Trio Subtonic and Mishka at Someday Lounge. 8 pm. Free. 21+.
*The latter show is a concert in support of Charles Lewis for Portland City Council. Lewis founded non-profit music education facility Ethos Music Center (where Singley works). And now for an endorsement:
"I'm Alan Singley and I know Charles Lewis. He's a smart, organized man of action. He's gonna shake things up, and he is on the side of the all-ages arts community in Portland like no one else, so we are volunteering our time for this show!!!"
There you have it. The event will also feature voter registration and Bus Project volunteer recruitment booths, some words from Lewis about his values and concerns, as well as his latest 30 second commercial spot.
Ethos Music Center
Photo: courtesy of the band's MySpace. That's Singley in the lime-colored (citrus coincidence?) shades. And, yes, guitarist Leb Borgerson (also of Quiet Countries) appears to be sporting a t-shirt for his very own band. Faux pas, anyone?