Listen to the new album from the rock group, Derby and you'd swear they hail from Britain. The Portland, Ore.-based band draws heavily on BritPop and classic sounds of past British invasions on their latest CD — their second — Posters Fade. The influence of bands like The Beatles is impossible to miss, but the group leans more towards homage than imitation. The album stands as a catalog of Brit Rock stylings from the last forty years, all filtered through an American band looking back in awe.
The melody on the opening track "Why Don't You Do It" has the same eastern-inspired tonality as much of the fab four's later material, and the track's whirl of reverb-heavy guitars and ambient noises delve into late '60s psychedelia. Immediately following that foray into feedback is "All Or Nothing," a tightly written, '80s dance-pop song complete with hand-clapping and infectious, sugary sweet "ooh-wha-oh" phrase endings.
From the slammed chords and squealing lead guitar that open the title track, "Posters Fade," it's not hard to imagine the song as a '70s rock anthem. Instead, the track evolves into an upbeat, neatly packaged pop song, with a very catchy melody. Following that, "Stumps" offers beautiful, three-part vocal harmonies set over simple strings and a softly picked acoustic guitar, ala early '60s folk.
The record's pacing is its greatest strength. Oscillating between upbeat rockers and slower, more intimate folk tracks, the album successfully navigates the immense musical terrain the band traverses. Derby has drawn a stylistic thread through decades of music, and the result is an album that is familiar yet unique, and popular while remaining artful.
Download this song in the Second Stage podcast.
Yesterday's Second Stage artist.
Email host Robin Hilton.