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Kim Novak’s Golden Mean [7.5]

Posted on the 29 March 2012 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

The Golden Mean Kim Novak 550x550 KIM NOVAKS GOLDEN MEAN [7.5]

When I was given Kim Novak (@kim_novak), a little know French band, began listening ready to hit next on my shuffler. They’re named after a screen siren from the Hitchcock era and play gauzy garage pop like everyone else. I was going to give it a chance because I was asked too, but that was all I was willing. Here’s the thing — when I allowed myself to actually sit down and listen, to enjoy and not think, I realized it was really damn good. It’s not revelatory, it’s not particularly new, but it’s really fun. It’s just plain good, enjoyable pop music. And guess what, that’s absolutely enough. No, it’s more than enough.

These days, it almost seems as though one out of every two bands makes reverb heavy, beach or garage pop. Kim Novak is absolutely no different; they traffic in three minute long tracks that add the jangle of surf rock to far-away vocals and a driving rhythm section. Here’s the difference: they don’t bleed the tracks into one another other. Many of the groups riding the current trend of distortion sound trite, small and inconsequential — one song on the album could easily be simply a continuation of another. Kim Novak circumvents this problem using the same strength that makes their record so enjoyable, pop structure. There’s a verse, chorus and bridge. Yes, there are sonic flourishes and distortions, but nothing too unexpected. They make pop music, good pop music, the kind the Beach Boys taught them to make. It’s nothing special, but it’s really nice. Sometimes though, nice is just what you’re looking for.

Music fans who become music obsessives, collectors and connoisseurs forget what it was that drew us to the idea of music in the first place. I’ve been, as I am sure you have, made fun of and dismissed for not enjoying the bands I listen to and for sucking the fun out of the things I love with the constant need to discover, categorize, critique and move on. It’s why people make fun of “hipster” music — we all have a tendency to take this shit way too seriously. If it isn’t immediately grabbing, different and interesting, we hit next. It’s a shuffler culture, and if something doesn’t stand out it gets buried. We started listening to music because we liked it, pure and simple, we just liked it. As we grew up, something changed. We wanted a challenge, an intellectual pursuit, a defining cultural characteristic. But sometimes just liking it should be enough.


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