Local darlings, The Sour Notes have been at it for some time now, creating a great deal of music in a rather short period of time and trying to make a name for themselves. They’ve experimented in a good number of genres since their origin in 2008 and have changed band members even more frequently. On this fifth release, Do What May, they venture into a pop psych realm and give it their own spin on this genre.
First and title track “Do What May,” opens things up with a bit of distorted electric guitar, and then the band bursts into the song, building it up with layers. They add some funky synthesizer, stark and concise percussion, a looping clean sounding guitar riff, and add to this with some “oohs.” After they build this up, all of the sudden they’ve switched to a crunchier sound, with heavier effects on the electric guitar, and then Jared Boulanger chimes in with his post-punk sounding vocals and the music has switched back to the psychedelic pop that it started with and the song is in full swing, going back and forth between these two established sounds. Some female vocals come in for the lead in the chorus, balancing out Boulanger with a great texture—this seems to be the trend for the rest of the album, and with no complaint; it’s an interesting and enticing dynamic.
There are tracks on Do What May that will instantly spark your listening ear upon first listen, but also some slow burners that require a bit more of your attention for you to sink your teeth into them. Perhaps it’s up to you to decide which of the tracks fit into which category for you, but “In The Meanwhile,” while it would most likely fit into the slow burner for most, immediately plucked my interest. In an album full of psychedelic pop jams, all of the sudden, stark in the middle you get this sweeping and delicate number with violin to start out the number. The effect on the vocals make them feel far away and soft, building to broader sweeping choruses that seem to go on forever, even though the track only lasts about three and a half minutes. On the contrary, earlier number, “With Ease, With Time,” will immediately stand out, the catchy nature of the chorus and the grooving bass giving it this infectious rhythm.
Though the album starts quite strong and dissipates slightly as it progresses, it picks back up for its close and ends on a high note. The Sour Notes have done good work on Do What May, and I invite you to pick up a copy; you won’t be disappointed.