When: Thu., Sept. 8, 9 p.m. 2011
The line between minimalist and boring is a blurry one, and missteps have cast many a neglectful explorer into a pit of sleepy ho-hums and glazed-over stares. But Austin's Love Inks not only forgo gaudy adornment in favor of attractive plainness, they keep their indie-pop hooks crisp, simple, and catchy. On their debut, E.S.P. (City Slang), the interplay between bass, guitar, and drum machine—believe it or not, the drum machine seems more appropriate here than an actual kit—leaves lots of space for Sherry LeBlanc's airy, echoing vocals to bleed into the distant reaches of each song. "Blackeye," maybe the simplest and most repetitive cut of the bunch (and maybe the best), doesn't crack two minutes, but LeBlanc carries her melody so delicately and elegantly through the tune's swirling guitar and pulsing beat that it doesn't even matter. Hell, the band is even able to put a spin on David Essex's "Rock On" that's worth a damn, sucking out the glam rock and adding their own eerie peculiarities. —Kevin Warwick Male Bonding headlines; Love Inks and Hospital Garden open.
Price: $12, $10 in advance