Of the Painted Choir: Warmly Familiar

Of the Painted Choir
Of the Painted Choir
Esther Martinez
As 2012 draws to a close, we'll be looking forward to the 2013 and spotlighting 13 Phoenix bands that will be making a mark on the Southwest throughout the new year. We wrote a bit about Of the Painted Choir's Lula in 2012, and felt the mini-review of the mini-EP deserved a little more shine, because the songs presented by the band have serious staying power.

There's a rustic sense of familiarity listening to Lula, the three-song debut EP by Phoenix indie folk combo Of the Painted Choir.

See also:

-13 Bands You Need to Hear in 2013 -[Archive] That Was 2012

Composed of elements we're well antiquated with -- a little M. Ward mumble/slapback vocal here, a fuzzy British Invasion guitar lick there -- the collection doesn't sacrifice quality employing such recognizable signifiers.

Instead, Of the Painted Choir, comprising songwriter Frederick Huang, Darren Simoes (The Bled/Dead Western Plains), Phillip Hanna (Tugboat/Kinch), and John Blades (Dorsey) wring out every bit of emotion and joy from the indie pop format.

"Lula, My Baby" bounces on a strident, anthemic beat, bolstered by Huang's lilting voice, while "A Spanish Mountain" is more restrained, that is until its ramshackle, ecstatic solo breakdown.

Bonus track "Mr. Bumblebee," with its whimsical Donovan/novelty jam vibe, feels unnecessary -- but mostly because the two tracks before it are so much better composed and executed.

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