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Submarine Races

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Album Review

The Submarine Races are one of those bands whose members probably claim that they "don't sound like anyone" and "listen to everything." In fact, they're really a fairly standard indie pop trio with the usual neo-psych and post-punk influences, but this Chicago trio does the same ol' thing with more élan than most. Ian Adams' endearingly dorky, adenoidal voice and jangle-riffic guitar style are the band's key attributes, alongside a rhythm section that shambles along awkwardly in the matter of old U.K. indie bands like the Vaselines or the Pastels. When a band is working the same basic style as a couple decades' worth of other groups, their songwriting is the make-or-break aspect, and in the case of the Submarine Races, it's a frustratingly mixed bag. There are several terrific songs here, most notably the instantly catchy "Hey Dad (The War Is Over)," a slice of full-on C-86 worship called "Postcard," and the scene-setting opener, "Theme," which makes good musical use of an actual sonar machine. However, some of the weaker songs attempt to skate by on pop-geek atmosphere, and they're not tuneful or inventive enough to manage, quite.

Submarine Races, Submarine Races
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