Brooklyn, NY: Grooms sophomore release

photo by Angela Hodgkinson
From the depths of New York City spawns yet another exceptional, dreamy production- Prom by experimental pop trio Grooms. Given the care put into arranging every slightly dissonant chord and percussive obtrusion in the studio, they've become fairly prolific, writing, recording, and producing the 11-track album in two years. By contrast, their debut Rejoicer took five years after the band's initial formation; a quiet crawl. A start proven the most successful in the long run.

Music, fashion, and culture are evolving at an acute pace, noticeably in commercial, media-friendly branches. But I believe it's genuine acts, those which start as bedroom jam sessions and build an audience from local venues that will prevail (see U2). Needless to say, we cannot call the former pop crap and be done with it. Because then what happens when you hear the more innovative, more subterranean side of the genre?

And Grooms are chill about it. Travis Johnston's cautiously punk vocals supported by bassist Emily's Ambruso meld nicely into the aloof, glazed backdrop. While the title track, "Expression Of", "Aisha", and "Don't Worry" are of a garden variety (guitar/percussion-driven), standout moments can be found in the bridge of "Imagining the Bodies", a folk/roots influenced "3D Voices", and "Sharing" led by Ms. Ambruso for a change. I feel like half of Prom is what I already know, and the other half is the wondrous surprise of a special ingredient.

The album paints the image of a sticky, summer day in the city. Boutique ice cream in hand, strawberry pink veins dripping down the side of the waffle cone, rainbow sprinkles trickling towards the ground. Sticky fingers. Sticky air. Fast-melting, cold dessert that doesn't give you brain freeze, but makes you feel ill and distant afterwards. All because of the sticky heat. But you still want more of it, don't you?

Well, you're in luck- free sampling: stream Prom in its entirety on AOL; and complimentary cone: download "3D Voices".

I've been to Brooklyn on a couple occasions and I continue to have difficulty picturing it as it is. In my mind, the city is engaged in an eternal rave, pretty with photogenic lights (blame this shoot of Savoir Adore's). It is, without a doubt, the fuzzy feel-good mecca of dream pop, noise pop and all other obscurely accommodating indie pop tangents.

01 Tiger Trees
02 Prom
03 Expression Of
04 Imagining the Bodies
05 Skating with Girl
06 Psychics
07 Aisha
08 Into the Arms
09 Sharing
10 Don't Worry, You're Prettier
11 3D Voices (mp3)
Release date: July 12th, 2011
Purchase this album digitally on iTunes or via Kanine Records.

If you're in New York on July 21st, drop by Summer in the Square at Union Square Park. There'll be outdoor yoga classes, kids' activities, and a lovely young trio playing the 6PM slot to open a night of musical performances. Details here.

Soundcheck at McCarren Park by ajent j loves agent a
Grooms is Travis Johnson (vox, guitar), Emily Ambruso (bass, vox), Jim Sykes (drums). Visit their official blog.