About halfway through their self-titled, self-released debut album, a proclamation is uttered by the Pale Young Gentlemen: “Let’s tear the lid off this thing.” (“Clap Your Hands.”) Clocking in at just barely over thirty minutes, their self-titled, self-released debut does exactly that, and does so effortlessly and joyously. It’s refreshing to hear music that is so un-selfconscious in its glee, and the results are infectious.
These songs are carefully orchestrated, with a deliberate baroque feel and persistent theatrical flourishes (in particular “An Appeal To St. Peter”) that delicately stomp through what feel like novellas set in 19th-century beer halls and occasionally arrive at revelations. “As A War” backs away from the celebratory, woozy feel a bit, with singer Michael Reisenauer mournfully observing that “love has made us blind” backed by a spare, lonely piano and cello. If this record were a musical, and the consistent theatrical feel that it evokes often takes the listener’s imagination there, this would be the part where the hero stands lit by a single streetlight, pouring his heart out to the girl.
I was completely charmed by this record, something that rarely happens these days. The Pale Young Gentlemen definitely do tear the lid off the thing, and if they can self-release something that is this good, I will be watching what happens once more people are in on what is so far a pretty well-kept secret. This band is a secret that is worth repeating.