Lee’s Listening Stack – The Red Buttons – ‘As Far As Yesterday Goes’
The Red Button
As Far As Yesterday Goes
Call it déjà vu. Or merely truth in advertising. After all, when the Red Button titles their sophomore set As Far As Yesterday Goes, the intent couldn’t be clearer. The Lennon-esque vocals, the cooing harmonies, the seductive slide guitar… even the handclapped rhythms – all of it suggests the early Merseyside sounds of the Beatles and their fellow Anglophile invaders — Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers and the Hollies among them. Given the Red Button’s Brit pop propensity, the similarities in sound are all but unmistakable.
Of course, this tact isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Bands as far back as Badfinger, the Raspberries and the Shoes have mined a very distinct niche simply by emulating the Fab Four’s charms. The approach is, of course, pre Pepper in origin, when innocence and idealism generally came to the fore. But you have to admire the Red Button’s unabashed exuberance and lack of inhibition. Their strategy was clear – mine this retro regimen and rekindle it as if the world was still waiting. And there’s no doubt about it – these cooing melodies still sound as fresh as ever. Try as one might to dismiss them as just another nod to nostalgia, songs like “Caught in the Middle,” “On a Summer Day” and “Girl, Don’t” are so irresistibly infectious, they get under the skin from the get go.
Of course, the bubblegum factor veers precipitously close at times, an unavoidable hazard that can befall even the most sophisticated power pop practitioner. Yet, that’s hardly worth the worry. Enthusiasm and authenticity provide reason enough to give the green light to the Red Button for this endeavor. – Lee Zimmerman