CD Review: Alligators — Piggy & Cups



& Cups

Appplehouse Records

By Julia Reidy

Washington State quintet Alligators’
name might be misleading. While possessing musical chops as sharp as the
namesake reptiles’ teeth, the sounds they create wholly lack the suggested
spiny skin and claws. Their national debut, the puzzlingly named Piggy & Cups, is pop as immaculately
clean as it has ever been – clear production, crisp percussion, falsetto vocals
and all.

Which isn’t to say it’s not creative or vastly more
interesting than many of the releases of their pop/rock brethren. The group
possesses a penchant for switching themes and styles mid-song, an
interest-keeper if there ever was one. They alternate between disparate
compositional techniques, from basic indie (“Be The Only One”) to ‘80s metal
throwback (“Original Fear”), from semi-funk (“Way I”) to lounge (“Why Aren’t
You Weeping (All In Your World)”). The band’s members, all veterans of other
regional musical acts and obviously very good at what they do, contribute
confidence to this collage project. Vocalist Joshua Trembley’s range would do
any hair band singer proud, and bassist Tyler Lewis’s often front-of-the-mix
lines stick out in a good way.

“If You Want To,” the album’s stand-out track, delivers all
of these things. The simple, almost childish lyrics join adorable electric
organ and soft falsetto harmonies in its A-section before the bridge provides
jamming guitar and reprises with heavier vocal stacks. The B-section sports
rock piano and a third verse key change – classic, but well-used. Finally,
after a funky bass breakdown, the song devolves into an a cappella

Without pushing too many boundaries or frightening off
listeners, Alligators have managed to produce an enjoyable record, one busting
with variety and skill. Impressive for an animal people usually make handbags
out of.


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