If the thought of a Canuck making a breezy "California" album is a bit off-putting, recall the fantastic success of Rufus Wainwright performing the same daring feat last year. But where Wainwright drew his inspiration from show tunes and opera, Blinker the Star's Jordon Zadorozny draws inspiration from the American underground rock scene of the '80s; he says he decided to try his hand at singing after hearing Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis massacre a song. Blinker the Star water their sound down with a ton of strings and gusts of softness (aided by arranger David Campbell, Beck's father), hence the reference to Cali.
Where Wainwright has the heart and vision of a classicist, though, the furthest Zadorozny can peer back is the early-'70s piano rock of Todd Rundgren, not necessarily the most interesting spot to land. On BTS' new release, August Everywhere, the band layers its pop with the requisite dose of Pet Sounds harmonies and tatters a few of the edges.
Dinosaur Jr., Todd Rundgren and the Beach Boys? Hmm. Sounds scary. It's not; it's quite pretty, actually, and fans of pure guitar pop will be giddy with the lush tones the band creates. No, there's not much of an edge on August Everywhere, and half of the record falls flat, but when it shines, it glistens. Zadorozny can write a song (he helped Courtney Love construct the glorious "Reasons to Be Beautiful" on Hole's most recent album, Celebrity Skin), and the record suggests that a live performance of these songs shines just as brightly.