Out with the new, in with the old. That’d be the simplest way to sum up the musical approach for pop-rockabilly quintet Ladybirds, as they seek to carry on their original style of music with the addition of two new members (Anthony Fossaluzza, keys/organ & Brett Holsclaw, drums) making their debut on this album.
The opener is the album’s title track which features lead vocalist Sarah Teeple charming you right out the gate with some sassy vocal finessing of the song’s chorus. Teeple aims to get the song’s chorus stuck in your head as she balances the AM radio style of instrumentation and more modern day lyrical notions about romance, relationships and the dating game.
The bubble gum pop-rock is laid on pretty heavy on “Hum De Dum” as Teeple resembles something more like a mid 20th century emcee who is singing at a rockabilly cabaret. She gleefully projects herself as the rest of the band lays in the antique rhythm and melodies. You may just think this song – or any other – was taken straight off the “Stand By Me” soundtrack.
“Shallow Orbit,” an instrumental montage provides a decent change-up at mid album. The song melds soft guitar melodies and slightly spooky keys/organs, and is sure to make some baby boomers swear this song came straight off the dance floor from their high school prom.
The only slightly awkward part of the album comes on “Stay Gone Pt. 1.” when the music and the lyrics don’t seem to marry together very naturally. After listening to “Stay Gone Pt. 2” you’ll hear how the lyrics marry up more naturally with the faster paced rock n’ roll version of the song. More so than its soppy predecessor anyway.
All throughout this album, Tepple’s vocal candor accounts for the band’s most luscious feature. She emulates that wholesome Betty Boop-like playful innocence which defined pop-rock’s golden age of musical culture a half century ago. Simultaneously she also muddles up enough modern-day mischievous jest that can’t go unnoticed either. Metaphorically speaking, like you pulled into a drive-up diner on Friday night in your convertible Corvair, ordered only a cheeseburger and cherry coke, but all the while had your hand up your date’s skirt. Can we get an “Ooh-la-la” for the Ladybirds?
LadyBirds / Those Darlins
Friday, September 9th
Headliners Music Hall
1386 Lexington Rd.
18 and up
** This album review also published at Louisville.com