I came late to the Resonars party. I first heard Matt Rendon’s one-man band maybe a year or so after his fourth LP That Evil Drone was released. Signs of life in the shape of the Trouble In Mind 45 “Long Long Thoughts” earlier this year were followed by talk of a new album. Naturally, I was very excited about this. Since coming across The Resonars they’ve sort of become my favourite band of the late 90s / early 00s. They seemed to be largely reinvigorated after hooking up with Burger a year or so ago. Burger is a label that fully appreciates Rendon’s uniquely authentic take on mid-60s beat and late 70s powerpop. Not only have they reissued every album on cassette and vinyl (including the 1999 masterpiece Bright & Dark), they’ve also put out a ‘best of’ LP and inspired Rendon to get a proper live band together.
A couple of months ago the amazing “I Didn’t Feel So Cold Then” appeared on their Kitty Tape double-cassette compilation. A page straight out of the Bright & Dark book, it might as well have been a track from the upcoming album. That’s the beauty of The Resonars – the consequent and personal vision of Rendon permeates all of their recordings. (Don’t miss the outtake “Lisa Bright and Dark”, an 8-minute Smile-style opus that appeared last week.)
It turned out not be a new album track, and rather than the band’s jangly Rickenbacker side Crummy Desert Sounds showcases their amped-up power chord side, evident from previous classics like “Gina”, “No Problem At All”, “Funny Old World” and “Black Breath”. This record packs a punch that not many albums have since the heyday of Andrew Loog Oldham and Shel Talmy. In fact Rendon’s speciality has been recapturing the moment when well-behaved beat music merged with light psychedelia in Britain 1966-67. We get a taste of that here, in the coulda been Graham Gouldman composition “I Had a Dream”. Rather than the Beatles or the Stones, this album looks to the triumvirate of The Hollies, The Seachers and The Kinks. One of the most impressive tracks is “Midtown Island” that break things up a bit midway with its time changes and In Crowd-era Steve Howe solo. All in all this is a very strong album, with harmonies to die for, impeccably produced and difficult to tire of. I can’t see how any other albums from this year can compete with that. Listen to the second track “Invisible Gold” here. And for more on The Resonars, here’s an interview which promises an upcoming Trouble In Mind LP as well.