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The Little Ones

Morning Tide

Format: CD   Release Date: 01/20/2009
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The Little Ones' debut EP, 2005's Sing Song, was the kind of bright, sunny indie pop that earned the band comparisons to the Shins -- the peppy and lighthearted sound of the disc was happier than the Shins and had a pleasing spark of originality. Three years on, the band made it through some wrangling and ended up on Chop Shop Records for its debut full-length album, Morning Tide. The label is important in this case because it is helmed by Alexandra Patsavas, the person responsible for providing the music for TV shows like The O.C. and Grey's Anatomy. The Little Ones fit perfectly in that world; the album is glossy, sophisticated, and very atmospheric -- just right for scenes of young lovers falling in and out of love dramatically. The shimmering guitars, big drums, and huge vocal harmonies also point toward the arena-friendly sound of Coldplay and the bands that have followed in their footsteps. A song like "Tangerine Visions," with its heart-tugging, expansive chorus, the Mellotron set to stun, and Edward Reyes' pretty, near falsetto vocal straining for the back of the auditorium, gives you an idea of their ambition. They want to play with the big boys and the album has the sound ready to compete; the songs are equal to the challenge as well. Album opener "Morning Tide" has the kind of hook that will stick and some nice production tricks; the ballad "Rise Shine" is suitably melodic and sweet; "Like a Spoke on a Wheel" has a title alone worthy of a Coldplay-lite band. Will the massive success they seem to be aiming for happen for the Little Ones? Most likely not -- in fact, they seem more likely to end up like their producer Dave Newton's band, the Mighty Lemon Drops. That band desperately wanted to be Echo the Bunnymen or U2, but never really caught on with the public. They had a nice career, though, and even made some decent albums (though it's their early work that holds up best), but ultimately were too generic. Morning Tide, though pleasant and by no means bad, is also far from original and too "of the moment" to make much of an impact beyond appearing in the occasional TV show or film soundtrack -- basically anywhere that pleasant, generic modern rock is needed. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi

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