The Black and White Years

Strange Figurines (Modern Outsider)

Texas Platters

The Black and White Years

Strange Figurines (Modern Outsider)

Judging by their band moniker alone, Austin's Black and White Years cultivate a fascination with the past. Utilizing third LP Strange Figurines as a litmus test, this particular vintage sweeps off dance floors from the cocaine-coated Eighties. The energetic pop fivepiece bottles that decade's party fever, fueled by a beat punching through the speakers with honey-ed, lovesick anthems. And yet, despite moving its young audience to undulate, Strange Figurines practices a restraint rarely demonstrated by the era it evokes. Monochromatic vox and minimalistic synths collude throughout, epitomized by the title track and the industrialism of "Matching Sweaters." Even when venturing into melodic indulgences such as "We're Making Friends" and "Cities," the group knows just when to pump the brakes with guitar rhythms and hook-laden choruses. A song like the Doctor Who-worthy "Insomnia" spins both refreshingly current and undeniably ripe musical influences as the band continues stretching outside the influence of its 2007 debut's producer, Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison. One thing's sure, Black and White Years shade in a little more doom and minor keys on this pleasure cruise. (CD release: Friday, Jan. 24, Parish)

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More The Black and White Years
Texas Platters
The Black & White Years
Patterns (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Nov. 19, 2010

More Music Reviews
Review: Holy Wave, <i>Five of Cups</i>
Review: Holy Wave, Five of Cups
Five of Cups (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Sept. 1, 2023

Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, <i>Emergency Leisure</i>
Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, Emergency Leisure
Emergency Leisure (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Aug. 4, 2023

More by Abby Johnston
Hiromi Uehara, Caroline Rose, and Fests Galore in Our Crucial Concerts
Hiromi Uehara, Caroline Rose, and Fests Galore in Our Crucial Concerts
Choose your fest: Psych, Death, or Blues

April 26, 2024

Geto Gala, Two Step Inn, and a 420 Smokeout Headline Our Crucial Concerts
Geto Gala, Two Step Inn, and a 420 Smokeout Headline Our Crucial Concerts
From country to hip-hop to sludge metal, get some ideas for your week in live music

April 19, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Black and White Years

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle