Pass the Ringo

Oakland quartet Legs’ debut full-length Pass the Ringo boasts a collection of balanced songs that use nuance, restraint, and other conventions of minimal pop to maximum effect. Lead single “Two Colours” vividly illustrates Legs’ honed songwriting approach: a somber chord progression sails into a playful guitar melody, pausing momentarily in anticipation of Amelia Adams’ relaxed and natural vocal phrasing — as if words bend to her habits of speech — then an exalted chorus carries listeners to new heights. Adams sings on only three tracks, but her pristine delivery makes “Two Colours” an obvious choice for a single.

Elsewhere, lofty organ progressions mingle with jangly guitar, without excessive effects or solos. Legs’ guitarists can probably shred, but they tend to mimic vocal melodies, paying closer attention to feel than flash. The band chooses to eschew showiness in favor of letting chords speak softly while vocals assertively project. This sacrifice of musician ego for the sake of a song is a cornerstone of pop that Legs seems to keenly understand.

Capturing the loneliness and whimsy of bedroom pop, Legs uses a melancholic-verse-meets-blissful-chorus form throughout Pass the Ringo, although not in a ramshackle or amateur way. Legs cites influences like New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records and Creation Records in the Eighties, but the hazy retro pop sound, while present, is merely a starting points for fully realized and refined songwriting. (Loglady)


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