Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Regrets ‎– New Directions: Results Beat Boasts (1997)

After the breakup of beloved Kansas indie-rock band Vitreous Humor, three-quarters of the band almost immediately began playing under the name The Regrets, but their approach was markedly different to their previous band. With the loss of one guitar in the mix, The Regrets didn't have a wall of distortion to hide behind, and the resulting songs were equally tense.
crank! a record company

The breakup of cumbrous Kansas indie band Vitreous Humor, blamed on typical inter-member turmoil, felt abrupt. They planned and played a well-attended farewell show, true, but business seemed unfinished. They burned out with a thin catalog of a couple 7"s, a self-titled EP called The Vitreous Humor Self Titled EP, and, later, a posthumous collection called Posthumous. But like a late caboose, the Regrets dashed by. VH's original, three-piece lineup was a unit once more, within what seemed like minutes after the crash of their previous band. And whether intended or not, the Regrets showed a continuation of VH's work, but decidedly not as top-heavy. While a final lineup of four members created VH's wave of knock-around distortion pedal songwriting, maybe the Regrets' three-piece, mottled, semi-relaxed rawness was the direction VH would've gone. I’m absolutely sure that has nothing to do with title of the Regrets' only work, New Directions: Results Beat Boasts, released on the Crank! label in 1997. The homely production is a handsome pair with the (probably) budget-rate instruments and amps used to shape the album, while the swishy playing style and yelped, weird poetry are well in line with the family seal. Depending on your angle of view, it could be an updated Firehose, a librarian's Dead Milkmen, or a dilapidated R.E.M. (an improvement). New Directions finished Vitreous Humor's work, although I'm not sure any cut off the album beats the Regrets' satellite track, "Good Things Come To Those In Small Packages," which was featured as a bonus on VH's Posthumous. It's nearly a suggestion from the band (or label), that the two groups are, or should've been, one.

New Directions: Results Beat Boasts is the sole release from The Regrets, a three-piece comprised of members of Vitreous Humor. It’s a mid-'90s, mildly punkish, indie-rock record with clean, jangly bass and guitar tones and minimalist arrangements and instrumentation — most of the focus is on Danny Pound's acerbic, half-sung, half-shouted lyrics. Guitars are strummed relentlessly, with rubbery bass lines and busy but clean beats forming the unwavering backdrop for Pound's wordy and occasionally darkly funny observations.
New Directions definitely features hints of early Modest Mouse and Silkworm, but its barebones construction and Pound's opening line on "India Ink" speak volumes: "Oh, here comes another misuse of my talent." That isn"t to say this record is a waste of time or that it offers nothing. It was recorded in three days with three players; nothing is doubled; little to no effects are utilized; hooks are used and reused. The Regrets were pulling no punches about what they were doing. They wanted to make a statement, and they wanted to do it in little time with an overriding and straightforward tone, and that's what they did.

The tongue-in-cheek title of the Regrets' first and only album also serves as its manifesto. The band, made up of three-quarters of Vitreous Humor, decided to attempt something completely different, and they succeeded - at least to a degree. The wailing wall of guitars that characterized much of their previous band's output largely disappeared, replaced by clean guitars and a less tense, more funky rhythm section. What remains is this group's ability to write catchy rock songs that aren't sickly sweet or pop pandering. Singer/lyricist Danny Pound's lyrics are often darkly humorous but seem more personal in his work with the Regrets. From the intense "Play With Yourself Until You Faint" to the simply tense "Ode to Barton Fink," the Regrets burned bright and beautiful for a very brief time.
Josh Modell

The Regrets ‎– New Directions: Results Beat Boasts (1997) 320kbps

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