On Our Radar: Action Painters

Posted by Jason Petros on June 18, 2009
On Our Radar

The Action Painters are balanced. Their song writing is poppy, their musicianship above par, and their genre, Indie Rock. In all of their songs, a catchy, resolute chorus sits adjacent to tension building verse; and this is a direct contributor to them becoming a nationally recognized presence in the indie rock circuit. They don’t need fancy production tricks to get their sound across (one of my pet peeves is the obviously digital Yamaha strings holding the sustained first, third, or fifth throughout a chorus – it’s pure cheese, and Action Painters don’t do cheese). What they do, and they do it well, is illuminate basic arrangements with well thought out guitar solos, consistent bass lines and lyrics that never go for the easy rhyme – for example, on my favorite track, “How Could it Be So Wrong”, their lead singer croons – “even when you shine it’s not too bright, when the days out it’s just fine, but when the night comes it’s not so easy, baby now” – he doesn’t purposely go for the obvious ABAB rhyme scheme, but instead plays coy, not feeling content to leave us with a Chris Martin dunker. Nope, the Painters are better than that – they sound comfortable with themselves and lean hard on Indie tradition while embracing pop melody. In my head, to use the insanely cliché metaphor of X + Y = Our Band!, they have a kind of a Colin Oberst-y singer mixed in with some clear and punchy guitar tone and a bass that isn’t afraid to go up the fret board every once and a while. They aren’t painfully love-sick – they give off a warm glow. They use electronics sparingly which is incredibly appropriate for the music – the tunes are kind of like that guy or girl in high school who was never a star athlete, or super nerd or anything, but was totally comfortable in his or her own skin – not, like the rest of us, awkwardly wallowing in the usual trappings of pubescent adolescence.

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