Monday, July 19th, 2010

The Hoosiers – Choices

And so we’ll be starting the week with a damp fart, too…


Kat Stevens: The Hoosiers and The Feeling once met at a dusty crossroads, wondering how to keep themselves afloat above the landfill indie watershed that threatened to drown them. They both formed a pact there and then to sell their souls to Supertramp, and each band made a modest album of bouncy chord changes and geeky oompah guitars that endeared them greatly to your narrator. But soon after they decided to part ways, forging in different directions: The Feeling headed for Prog Town and settled down happily working at Wakeman’s Second Hand Theremin Store. The Hoosiers meanwhile hitched a lift to glittering Discopop City, not deterred by seeing the Scissor Sisters heading back past them in the opposite direction. Would the good citizens welcome their humble housey beats with open arms? Or cast them out back to the wilderness to feed on the festering carcasses of Scouting for Girls?

Iain Mew: I was happy to have The Hoosiers around last time — a little due to their direct, punchy pop songwriting, but mostly from them being the closest anything in the charts of the time came to sounding like The Bluetones. “Choices” is newly covered in a thin synth glaze, and a little too oversung to really love, but my 2007 reasoning still stands.

Michaelangelo Matos: Chart-loving pop as sealed off from the mess that gives the charts their life, however desiccated at times as it can be, as power pop is from the ferment rather than just the sounds of vintage Beatles, Beach Boys, Byrds, and Big Star. That doesn’t mean I dislike it; just that its bright, bouncy hooks felt more like an end in themselves rather than a means to an end, and that the difference means something.

Alfred Soto: “Stop giving me choices,” the adenoidal lead singer implores. So fuck or walk.

Martin Skidmore: Electro indie with a high, thin vocal and pop ambitions, but the song is weak, as is the singing, and the playing dull. They won a few marks from me with their subjects on earlier singles, but this is without any distinction.

Chuck Eddy: Have these, er, Brit-Swedes ever even set foot in Indiana? If not, John Cougar Mellencamp and I demand they change their name right now. Either that or we’re going to start a band called, I don’t know, the Snow Limeys. That said, I guess as lousy Brit-(Swede)-pop bands go, they do sound slightly ’80s. So there’s that.

Katherine St Asaph: He’s not much of a singer, is he?

7 Responses to “The Hoosiers – Choices”

  1. PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY HOMEWORK FAIL ms stevens: “met at a dusty crossroads, wondering how to keep themselves afloat above the landfill indie watershed that threatened to drown them”

    The flood would of course drain DOWN THROUGH THE LANDFILL, and no watershed could result!

  2. Watershed is the wrong word here! I meant some sort of high tide mark.

  3. Chuck, two of the band claim to have had football scholarships at the University of Indianapolis, thus the name.

  4. Since I am seem to be the business of showing off about irrelevant pedantry today, there’s a passage in Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” where he mocks Hoosiers as the classic example of a “granfalloon“: viz a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless, a “proud and meaningless association of human beings.” CC’s prankster guru, Bokonon, has a handy apothegm: “If you wish to study a granfalloon, just remove the skin of a toy balloon.” I would claim that this was all highly relevant to this record, but I only managed to endure about four bars of it.

  5. football scholarships at the University of Indianapolis

    Despite being “allergic to running,” Wiki says. Unless they were placekickers, I doubt the sport was what actual Hoosiers would call “football”. (Hmmm…Wiki also says their chemistry teacher used to be Grant Surpell, who played drums and percussion in Sailor, whose 1975 debut LP I’ve been listening to some in the past month. I like its songs that sound like Roxy Music — “Glass Of Champagne” — more than its ones that sound like Taco’s “Puttin’ On The Ritz” eight years early — “Girls Girls Girls.” Faux-Latin/10cc moves fall in the middle.)

  6. (Also very proto-White Town, Sailor were, fwiw. They didn’t sound ’70s rock much at all. Not necessarily a good thing, but of some weird historical interest, maybe.)

  7. (And oops, what I have isn’t technically their debut LP, apparently. Actually it’s Trouble, their second. Went #45 in the UK, where the two songs named above were top ten singles, the biggest hits of their career.)