Few sound as comfortable with utter simplicity as Colleen Green does on her new album, Sock It To Me. Like David Byrne standing in front of the boom box beat in Stop Making Sense, it’s easy to picture Green standing in the middle of her messy bedroom, strumming a guitar with a simple drum machine half-buried in dirty laundry somewhere behind her.
The songs on her Hardly Art debut, Sock It To Me, are unabashedly wrapped in ’60s pop and minimal punk traditions, the emotions straight-forward, the intent clear. And while Green’s sleepy pop-punk songwriting is the stuff of afternoon nap dreams, it’s too bad that the vinyl single isn’t a more viable option, as the longer, slower tracks that fill the spaces between those little gems dissipate the album’s buzz.
Parts of Green’s repertoire hearken back to the early Best Coast releases: the simple “he loves me, he loves me not” lyrics, the girl group harmonies, the joyous lo-fi recording. Sometimes she’s reveling in the simplistic good times (“I really love my boyfriend,” she states off-hand on “Only One”), and at other times she’s admitting that things aren’t so easy. But even then she’s got a very blunt way of going about it. “Heavy shit on my mind,” she breathes, crumbled cement guitars rumbling behind, on “Heavy Shit”.
A flowing, buzzing synth to “Time in the World” adds a dark, new wave tinge to the formula, but elsewhere, the slow, legato touches de-tooth her emotional honesty some. The five minute “Close To You” exemplifies this shift, swimming in a soupy and dreamy darkness, yet it feels nowhere near as personal, honest, and powerful as the choppy, in the moment jitters of her best songs.
Essential Tracks: “Only One”, “Heavy Shit”, and “Time in the World”