Trashcan Sinatras: Wild Pendulum (Red River) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, August 11th, 2020  

Trashcan Sinatras

Wild Pendulum

Red River

May 20, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Trashcan Sinatras are not what one might call prolific. After the eight-year gap between 1996's long out-of-print A Happy Pocket and 2004's career zenith Weightlifting, it took five years for 2009's In the Music to emerge. Seven years later, we now have Wild Pendulum, only their sixth full-length album since their 1990 debut Cake and, like its predecessor, also the product of a successful crowd-funding campaign (this time via PledgeMusic). As with their previous records, this is well worth the wait. Produced by Bright Eyes band member Mike Mogis, the result is not a significant change from their signature sound, but a record slightly more lush and stylized than what we've seen previously and with a few left-of-center turns.

Opening with the vaguely Smiths-like "Let Me Inside (or Let Me Out)," there are a handful of stylistic detours here not common for a Trashcan Sinatras record. After the one-two punch of the relatively upbeat "Best Days on Earth" and XTC-like "Ain't That Something," the album's first curveball is "Autumn." Its gigantic, sweeping strings remind me of a '60s James Bond theme, territory the band explored on A Happy Pocket's brilliant cover of Lulu's "To Sir With Love."

"All Night" is the band's first foray into indie-dance (though not their first foray into club-land; see the lyrics to 1993's "Easy Read") and as such the song on here that diverges the most from what they've done in the past, but it's more reminiscent of ABBA than say, LCD Soundsystem.

Elsewhere, the just barely two-minute "The Family Way" is either a rumination on one's relations not too far removed from In the Music's "I Wish You'd Met Her" (which dealt with the death of singer Frank Reader's father) or something having to do with the 1966 British film of the same name or neither. Another standout is "I'm Not the Fella," which, with its call and response chorus, even reminds one ever so slightly of their namesake Frank Sinatra's '50s records.

Overall, Wild Pendulum is a very good record that will please their small and adoring fanbase, but likely won't win over too many new converts. At this point, though, they know full well where they stand and who they are. Music this gorgeous, fragile and emotional should be embraced and celebrated. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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