Review: Treading Lemmings — Cliff Notes

Anyone remember the early 90s computer game Lemmings? Basically you had to get the lemmings from one side of the screen to the other safely. The only problem was that the little rodents were prone to wandering, so you’d have to keep your team from walking off cliffs or falling into pits of lava.

There are no such worries in following Rockville’s Treading Lemmings; the places they wander are mostly dive bars and dancefloors. Their new record Cliff Notes(produced by Marco Delmar) is chock full of highly boogieable tunes and tasty guitar licks.

The fivesome sticks with a guitar-driven alternapop sound, a little like The Stone Roses with a few more rough edges. It’s hard not to bop along to the upbeat melodies on “The Unbelievable Truth” or album opener “Tempest in a Trousseau,” but the band does just as well with moodier numbers like the Dear John lament “All She Wrote,” which feels heavily influenced by Scot-pop outfit The Trashcan Sinatras.

Talula Does the Hula” needs to become a Sesame Street sketch, stat: not just for the goofy rhyme, but as a warning to all new parents that the unique names they bestowed upon their infants—here frontman Chris Quinn gets hyperbolic, citing “#16 Bus Shelter” or “Fish and Chips” as baby names—will result in a lifetime of seething resentment. As Quinn sings, “What’s wrong with Barbara, Carol, John, or James? There’s no shame in the traditional. It doesn’t mean you must be dull.

Cliff Notes is proof of that.

Listen if you Like: The Stone Roses, Harriet Wheeler (“that girl from The Sundays” in Lemmings-land), Trashcan Sinatras, the Valerie years on 90210

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