Washington Social Club: Catching Looks

There's no application needed to join this club. The ironically-named Washington Social Club recently released their debut full-length LP, Catching Looks, on the Badman label. This independent-minded band created 11 tracks that appeal to the masses with catchy tunes and pop-sounding lyrics. Songs, like the aptly named "Simple Sound" and "On the Inside" epitomize the overall fun feel of the album (maybe they should have named the album Catchy Hooks).

Hipsters will love this album, while serious listeners will probably keep searching for something edgier. The Black Cat night club in Washington, D.C., was packed with ironic-t-shirt-wearing youngsters during the album release party in late May. The Washington Social Club— Martin Royle (guitar, lead vocals), Olivia Mancini (bass, vocals), Randy Scope (drums, vocals), and Evan Featherstone (guitar, vocals)— put on an energy-filled performance. Mancini's cape and Featherstone's glittery ensemble added to the tongue-in-cheek attitude this band has about being cool.

The energy that the band exudes on stage comes through on the CD. The fact that all four members provide vocals gives the band the opportunity to experiment with textures when singing the lyrics. For example, Royle and Mancini sing almost all lines simultaneously in "Dead Kid Town," giving the song a richer sound than a lot of the other tracks.

While Washington Social Club makes no radical statement with this album, they do challenge materialistic folks and corporate fat cats with lyrics like "Have you heard that money is the root of all evil?" in "Dancing Song." I found it very difficult to resist shaking my hips at least a little bit when Royle encouraged me to get up and dance with "Let's get stupid 'cause stupid's free." The second half of the album tones down the happiness a bit with tracks like "Charlie the Russian," which includes loud, garage-sounding riffs as Royle screams into the mic.

I anticipate that Catching Looks will stay on the top my iPod's most-played list for at least the remainder of the summer. I look forward to hearing what boundaries this band can push with their next album.

Melissa Gilmore
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Washington Social Club
song:Simple Sound
album:Catching Looks (Badman Recordi…
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