Overly Polite Tornadoes – When You Wake Up (2015)

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Sporting a great name that simply impossible to forget, Overly Polite Tornadoes features Mark Andrew Morris and Holly Klutts-Morris, who are husband and wife and also perform in Glowfriends, a critically acclaimed band from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Following the same template as Glowfriends, Overly Polite Tornadoes fit firmly in the file stamped shoegaze pop. The duo’s new album When You Wake Up (JAM Records) locks in as a model specimen of the genre, which originated in Europe in the late ’80s by bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Chapterhouse.

One of the most alluring aspects of shoegaze pop is the leap-frogging of contrasting sounds, and Overly Polite Tornadoes carefully balances their material with expressive shades, colors, and emotions. From soft to hard to coarse to refined to quiet to loud, the twosome manages to sustain a solid sense of melody throughout their songs. The dynamics are strong and supple, and the feel is organic and intimate.

Whispering vocals complement dreamy harmonies, while strummy guitars turn into squalling explosions of feedback. A hymn-inflected aura, dabbed with psychedelic lint, further occupies much of When You Wake Up, and the lyrics favor a spirited and often abstract slant.

Every track on the album projects its own special rhyme and reason, with the scorching “Don’t Tell Me How It Ends,” the fuzzy Teenage Fan Club styled pop of “Empty Light Squares,” the ethereal electricity of “New Leaf Turn Over,” and the enigmatic poetry and general quirkiness of “Stuffed Rabbit” posting as select songs to take note of.

Shivering, cascading, and levitating with creative flashes, When You Wake Up is an enthralling expedition into contemporary shoegaze pop. Overly Polite Tornadoes make a perfect pair, and this record validates their talents.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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