Originally, the UK trio Let’s Wrestle released their album In the Court of Wrestling Let’s in 2009 in England, but fortunately, those clever lads at Merge Records got a hold of it. They’ve re-released this record here in the United States, and every listener will forever be indebted to them for doing so. Let’s Wrestle is an honest band, bound by no pretension, built to cheer you on towards brighter days and generally just make you smile.
“My Arms Don’t Bend That Way, Damn It” opens this sixteen song delight, and despite some rather somber lyrics, the jangling guitar lines and furious drum pounding indicate a narrator, and perhaps a band, pushing towards frivolous days. This happy assault on your ears always seems to carry more serious undertones, but in disguising it as they do, you can’t help but pogo along.
You’ll absolutely love listening to “Tanks.” It definitely has a very British sound to it, as the bass bobs in line with the guitar work. Every bit of this song sounds utterly familiar, yet it stands out in a very distinctive manner, which recalls the early work of The Wedding Present. Similarly, the “ba, ba, ba” chorus that runs throughout “We Are the Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon” just sticks inside your head all day long. Once again, bass work is key to the simplistic formula here, propelling the song along when the chorus isn’t present. Don’t even try to tell yourself that you don’t already feel yourself growing to love this band. It seems like soon is now.
Apparently the band have an affinity for American pop acts of the past such as Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. Such influences definitely bleed through here, especially on songs like “My Schedule.” There’s a certain swing you’d find in the records of your parents; you know, the ones they told you they first danced to when they were courting each other. But, the group has the knack to make it all their own, using a hint of tropicalia on “In Dreams.” While the subject matter is definitely a nostalgic allusion, you get the precise feeling of listening to this on a beach, if not for Gonzalez’s echo-effected vocal.
A wondrous thing about In the Court of Wrestling Let’s is the fact that their is a youthful vibrance throughout, keeping the album from ever feeling stale. “I Won’t Lie to You” has a blistering pace to it, and although it does come across a touch raw, you’ll be drawn to the purity of a band pushing themselves to have fun. And “It’s Not Going to Happen” feels as if a bunch of British brats decided to borrow a touch or two from Ted Leo. This is meant as flattery, sincerely. It uses the stop-start formula, along with mono-syllabic moments repeated, sucking you in as it goes.
For a debut record, you couldn’t really ask for a whole lot more. Not a song on will turn you off, and despite being a straight pop-rock album, you probably won’t skip a song. Sometimes the best records are the ones that present themselves honestly, destined to bring you nothing but joy. In the Court of Wrestling Let’s is precisely such a collection of songs, and one that Let’s Wrestle should be extremely proud to have created.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/wearethemen.mp3]
Download: Let’s Wrestle – We are the Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon [MP3]