The Legends
Up Against the Legends
/lakeshore-labrador; 2004/


This debut release from The Legends is exactly 30 minutes long. In that amount of time it does exactly what a record like this should do. From beginning to end there are melodies galore, and although some reveal themselves slower than others, the immediate gratification is welcome. The main reason for this is because there is absolutely no repetition on the record; there simply isn't any room for it. Before a song can get stale, the next one begins. Also, I don’t know what it is about these Swedish pop records, but each of them retain a frosty sound. It may be a gimmick but I absolutely love it; they’ve got today's melancholic indie sound down pat. The fact that The Legends are making a type of music that can turn vapid within seconds would be reason enough for suspicion, but they’ve got the melodic skill to prove to us otherwise.

“Call It Ours” opens the album sounding almost exactly as what promoters for the album have been saying. It kicks off with jangly guitars and a fair amount of fuzz wrapped around a terribly catchy melody...The Smiths meet The Jesus and Mary Chain indeed. All of the vocals on Up Against the Legends are drugged up and detached like the later while retaining clearly discernable melodies. “Your Song” starts off with lone, distant drumming and sparingly used distorted guitar. Very soon the chorus kicks in, featuring an ethereal female voice reminiscent of the final few ‘just like honey’s’ at the end of “Just Like Honey.” I was still admiring the song when it ended and the album jumped right into full speed indie rocker “Right On.” The album equally distributes the melancholy and pop, fusing the two together or alternating between the two stylistic extremes. “When the Day Is Done“ is the quietest track on the record while two songs later, the pure power pop of “The Kids Just Wanna Have Fun” comes roaring in.

Like their fellow countrymen and women in The Concretes, The Legends take a particular sound and apply it to simple pop forms. And like that band, they come away with amiable results. This isn’t complicated music, so critical judgments should be set on low. For this type of straightforward indie pop to be successful, there is only one rule that needs to be considered, and that is not to fall in the trap of making a record that bores within a few listens. If you’re going to make indie rock, you better make it as good as The Smiths and The Jesus and Mary Chain did. As I already mentioned, The Legends have avoided this danger of repetition and interestingly enough, Up Against the Legends goes beyond what would have been needed to separate them from countless other similar sounding acts.

- Andrew Iliadis

/mar 15th 2005/