Love Tractor's self-titled debut album is a joyous slice of new wave pop that sits firmly between upbeat surf rock and jangling guitar pop, unencumbered by vocals yet incredibly melodic. The band -- guitarist Michael Richmond, bassist Armistead Wellford, drummer Kit Swartz, and guitarist Mark Cline -- crank out song after song that's light and frothy on the surface while being satisfyingly complex at the same time. Each member of the group plays parts that are fascinating on their own and once locked together create an almost puzzle-like construction that's as easy to dance to as it is to admire. The guitars have the right amount of twang, the bass is bouncy and tuneful, the drums have an exceedingly light touch, and the occasional keyboards that pop up are utilized nicely. Sometimes the songs tilt more in one direction than the other on the cuteness vs. trickiness scale. The vibrant "Buy Me a Million Dollars," a song so beachy it has sand in its grooves, and the gleefully loping "Hairy Beat" are two good examples of tracks that fall into the latter category. The thoughtful "Sixty Days Below" and the melancholy ballad "Seventeen Days" exemplify the other side. Regardless of where the songs fall, there is enough cross-pollination to keep everyone's feet and brains moving at roughly the same level. The band hit on a winning formula right away, and Love Tractor is a remarkably fun little album that sounds very much of its time but also unlike anything else happening around them.
Love Tractor Review
by Tim Sendra