Skip to main content

San Diego City Beat review of the Christmas Island--Poisoner 12"

Photobucket
Buy limited color vinyl here:





Courtesy of Seth Combs and San Diego CityBeat:

Christmas Island back with a new 12-inch
Local indie-rock band serves up perfect DIY pop
By Seth Combs

Christmas Island
Poisoner 12-inch
(Volar)

It’s been a while since we last heard from Christmas Island. Back in mid-2009, the indie-rock quartet was often mentioned in the same articles as Crocodiles and Wavves as the next band to emerge from what Rolling Stone dubbed San Diego’s “seedy” lo-fi underground. While those other bands became indie-household names, Christmas Island released a great, self-titled record on a respected indie label (In The Red, once home to Jay Reatard and Vivian Girls, among others) and then, for the most part, disappeared.

Poisoner, a new six-song 12-inch, isn’t exactly the trumpet-sounding return that fans of the band have been craving; nor is it particularly groundbreaking or novel. However, it is a quaint reminder of why we liked the band in the first place: They serve up perfect, if rudimentary, blasts of DIY pop highlighted by Brian Carver’s forlorn lyrics and affected, oh-so-indie, earnest voice. “Poisoner” and “Wild Black Hair” aren’t easy-listening ballads by any means, but given time, they get stuck in your head like the best tracks from bands like Black Lips and The Clean. It ain’t pretty or shiny, but you can’t deny it.

Who knows what took these six tracks so long to make, but “View Through a Tear” might be one of the best songs they’ve ever recorded. It’s a perfectly melancholy tune complete with fantastic guitar breakdowns and lyrics that would make a country singer jealous. Even more exciting, it proves that Christmas Island is maturing both in skill and songcraft, even if it’s not at the pace we might prefer. The fact that “Tear” is followed by what could only be described as an attempt at hardcore punk (“Rat King”) is a not-so-subtle reminder that the band remains playful and unpredictable. But it remains to be seen whether this attitude will lead to another semi-hiatus or another album and (hopefully) the attention they deserve.


Email editor@sdcitybeat.com or follow Seth on Twitter at @combsseth.

Stream the whole record here:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Flat Worms 7" on Marc Riley's (of the Fall) Best of 2016 BBC 6 show, Oh Boland LP on Pitchfork's Best of 2016, Susan LP on Dirty Laundry TV's Best of 2016, Teach Me 7" on ListenSD's Best of 2016

Happy holidays, all, hope you get through them okay. I know this can be a strange time of year for a number of you, myself included. Happy to be here to share some mighty fine recent news in the land of Volar. Marc Riley, one of the originally songwriters in the Fall, has a BBC 6 show, and just last week discovered the debut 7" by Flat Worms on Volar. He says some very kind words here about the nine-minute mark, played them again the next day, and then included them in his best of 2016 show this past Monday. We're down to the last few of our black vinyl copies. Also this past week, Pitchfork put out its list of

Matt Lamkin of the Soft Pack and Silver Shadows West Coast tour, Teach Me and Keepers live w/ the Spits

First off, a moment of reflection about the Oakland fires. I've been in my own state of shock and grief and am slowly getting back to focusing on this other stuff here. My thoughts go out to everyone involved. I had friends who were there that night and made it out safely; I had quite a few more who were close to going and decided not to. The first show I ever attended in the Bay was at a warehouse (the French Fry Factory), and the first show I ever played there was at the Ghost Town Gallery. I have more musical ties to friends in the Bay and Oakland specifically than anywhere else outside of where I live, and the creative freedom and resourcefulness of the music and arts community there is the richest that I know of in the country. There have been many thoughtful posts and articles regarding that scene in particular, the culture at large, and the nature of warehouse spaces like Ghost Ship. I was asked to do an interview for NBC San Diego and only agreed to help spread that messa…

OUT NOW! Debut LPs by Matt Lamkin (of the Soft Pack), Silver Shadows, Part Time/Drinking Flowers 7", OUT SOON! Tracy Bryant 7"

Well, hi there. A lot's happened since the last time we posted. Really awful shit on a political and cultural level, mostly good stuff on the personal. Either way, things have been really hectic, and the Royal We have been preoccupied. But here we are with some news!

 First up, we have Where I'm Matt, the excellent debut solo LP by my old buddy Matt Lamkin, frontman for the Soft Pack, who went so far as playing Letterman and doing a goofy video with Bob Odenkirk of Mr. Show and Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul and touring a tour and putting out records on Kemado Records and Mexican Summer, among others. The LP features a handful of Lamkin's friends playing various instruments, and retains the hookiness of the Soft Pack while adding a healthy dose of experimental stuff.

Stream the album and pick up limited yellow vinyl, edition of 500, for $12.
 Next up, another great debut, and unfortunately the last, by the very excellent Oakland-based female-harmony led Silver Shadows. I…