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Live review: The Rosebuds at the Echoplex

November 26, 2008 |  6:42 pm

On a rather gloomy, rainy Tuesday night in L.A., the Rosebuds brought their spooky pop rock to the Echoplex, filling the room with shadowy imagery and buoyant vibes. The band’s new album, “Life Like” – another solid effort, this time mixed to nice effect by Chris Stamey (formerly of the dB’s) – has bounded into the CMJ top 10 and the faithful were out to welcome the Raleigh, N.C.-based group.

Singer-guitarist Ivan Howard led the group, with Kelly Crisp (his wife and co-band leader) at center stage on her Casio, through a well-paced set that plucked songs from 2005’s “Birds Make Good Neighbors” and last year’s “Night of the Furies," mixed with a chunk of new stuff. Ivan’s vocals alternate between lilting and haunting, depending on the mood of the song (e.g, “Blue Bird” vs. “Cemetery Lawn”), and Kelly’s back-ups can similarly add a sweet or ghostly touch. Somehow it works: pulsating Motown bass lines, strumming guitars, sing-along choruses, pounding Goth stateliness one minute and infectious campfire folkiness the next. Terrifying story songs and sounds are followed by winsome bits like the set-closing “Nice Fox,” with its chanting backdrop of “...And it don’t mean nothin’ at all.” Maybe not – but the crowd Tuesday joined in like they meant it.

--Frank Farrar

Photo courtesy myspace.com/therosebuds