Los Angeles' own Army Navy took the 11pm slot at last night at Silverlake Lounge, though I have no idea why. The venue seemed a little too small for their polished, larger-than-life sound, and in the past they've supported stellar acts like The Dodos and Arctic Monkeys. They even performed on Conan O'Brien's ill-fated tonight show, another hint at the group's fast-rising star. Last night, Army Navy delivered everything that their recorded tracks had promised and more: it was like a fantastic combination of whimsical 80's post-punk, garage rock, and weird indie pop sensibility a la The Get Up Kids. or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The bassist looked happy bordering on blissful, the guitarist more reserved but cheerful, the drummer a dead ringer for Dave Grohl. They were like sublimely happy bodies orbiting the just-barely-contained supernova of Justin Kennedy. His facial expressions, vocal delivery, and body language exposed the many layers existing below the polished surface, and it was impossible to look away for fear of missing even a sliver of meaning. Truth be told, they were all skilled at musical expression, letting ideas grow organically using repetition and dynamics to enhance the build and subsequent breakdown. But Army Navy wasn't all roiling intensity: in fact, every member seemed relaxed and good-humored between songs. They seemed like the type of guys that would be fun to hang out with on the road or in general, and their music video above for "My Thin Sides" (featuring Paul Scheer) definitely speaks to their wicked sense of humor.
photo by Laurel Kathleen
While the band wore their influences on their sleeves, they certainly didn't waste any time transcending said influences. They took more rhythmic and harmonic risks than the aformentioned bands; at times, playing to the audience's expectactions while at others, defying them completely. For a brief but telling example, listen to the way they arrange their background oohs and ahhs: at first, it's hard not to think "oh yeah, The Beatles did this". But then they switch up the rhythm, the harmonic layers, or drop out completely. To me, that's indicative of a band with both staying and transformative power. I don't know what's next for them, but I sure can't wait to find out. Army Navy's latest album The Last Place (cover pictured below) is now available for purchase here. For more information on upcoming tour dates, please follow Army Navy on Facebook or Twitter.
Laurel was born in the great state of Texas but grew up in the slightly backwards state of Minnesota. As soon as she was old enough to hitchhike safely, she thumbed it back to good ol' Texas, enrolling in the University of North Texas. While there, her mind was blown by the incredibly rich and diverse musical landscape of Denton which prompted her to begin writing about her concert-going adventures. She now resides in LA, where her life's goal is to spread the good word about good music. That, and becoming best friends with Chelsea Handler (whichever comes first).
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