Guards: “Silver Lining”
If you hadn’t noticed, the music “industry” is on its last legs. Sure the biggies’ll sometimes stumble upon something to keep the sweet nectar of life going for a few more years, but, for the most part, the age of the fat cat record exec saying things like, “Kid, I’m gonna make you a star!” is largely over. But as the big, lumbering dinosaurs yielded to the small, crafty mammals, so too will small, crafty bands ultimately take the mantle from the biggies. One group emblematic of this shift is Guards, a band that went from relative indie obscurity to critically-acclaimed thanks to hard work and some Internet-age luck.
Guards is led by one Richie Follin, brother of Cults frontwoman Madeline Follin. Sister Madeline’s Cults were also recipients of the Internet buzz-machine’s largesse when a couple of their songs were picked up off their Bandcamp site and propelled them to critical darling status. Richie spent some time in an incarnation of Cults and the band Willowz. The first Guards recording came in the form of a self-titled EP in July 2010. Subsequent offerings included singles put out online and on 7″ as well as a mini covers record released on Guards’ Bandcamp site (includes covers of songs by Vampire Weekend, M.I.A., and–yes–Metallica).
Guards recently released “Silver Lining,” a brand new single from their forthcoming full-length debut In Guards We Trust (Out February 5 via Black Bell Records). The song doesn’t lose any time, kicking right into the verse with little flourish. Before you know it, you’re smack in the middle of a very cool power-pop tune. Previous Guards outings have sometimes skirted the edge of melancholic, but this is sugary goodness. At 2:58, Follin and co. don’t waste a note. But there’s also plenty of indie echo and atmospherics to keep the clever kids happy. It’s a simple song with plenty to chew on. And Guards are a simple band with big dreams, making their own way in the new musical landscape.