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Ladybug Transistor - Clutching Stems

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 1 / 8 / 2011

Ladybug Transistor - Clutching Stems
Label: Fortuna POP!
Format: CD


Appealing, but formulaic and routine seventh album from Brooklyn-based indie pop act, the Ladybug Transistor

Back in 1999, the Ladybug Transistor’s album 'The Albemarle Sound' was one of my first favourite indiepop albums, together with the Lucksmiths 'A Good Kind of Nervous', and the next year I saw them both play at the Emmaboda Festival in Sweden. In those days, the songs were clearly influenced by the baroque pop movement of the 60’s (with bands like the Left Banke), and also the soft pop scene of the same decade, an influence that became very notable when the band recorded cover versions of the Bee Gees’ 'Massachusetts', Glen Campbell’s 'Galveston' and Jan & Dean’s 'Like a Summer Rain”. In a way, The Ladybug Transistor was the ultimate Elephant 6 band (without being part of that “family”), with the great harmonies and melodies, but without the weird, psychedelic freak-outs. But since then, the band have more or less left the baroque part behind, and for the past two albums they have been… well, like your average indiepop band. Which is not say that they are mediocre nowadays, not at all. But the songs tend to sound pretty much the same, and I miss those quirky songs from the aforementioned album. Of the current line-up singer/songwriter/band leader Gary Olson and bass player Julia Rydholm are the only ones left from the golden age, and maybe that has got something to do with it, too. Nevertheless Olson still has a pleasant, soothing voice, and he keeps writing good pop tunes. I just wish that he could surprise me a little next time…

Track Listing:-
1 Clutching Stems
2 Light On The Narrow Gauge
3 Fallen And Falling
4 Ignore The Bell
5 Oh Cristina
6 Caught Don't Walk
7 Breaking Up On The Beat
8 Into The Strait
9 Hey Jack I'm On Fire
10 Life Less True

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