Challenge Club: A Briefe Description of the Notorious Life of Challenge Club Together With Their Ignominious Death
Challenge Club A Briefe Description of the Notorious Life of Challenge Club Together With Their Ignominious Death (self-released) Every week they come in the mail. Another Janey-come-lately “dance rock” band featuring three girls in neon cling wrap doing their best Tom Tom Club. Or a couple of hippies who think owning a real boss reverb pedal makes them the next Syd Barrett. Like the latest crop of hair farmers who were “really moved, man,” by Eddie Vedder circa 1996, it’s a problem. Which is why records like Challenge Club’s unpretentious take on trad indie-rock maneuvers is so refreshing. (And yeah, we never thought we’d be calling indie rock “unpretentious,” either.)
The group’s speedy moments are its most effective. When the tempos stay in that slalom range—vocalist jumping toward the mic for the chorus, melody leaping up an octave, everyone hammering a little harder on that chord—Challenge Club provides a comfort-food punch specific to its chosen genre. Plus, it’s mastered traditionalist indie rock’s secret weapon—the breakdown—when the drums and maybe a pinging guitar or wheedling keyboard rev triumphantly back up for the final chorus. The last two songs, “Columbus” and “Firearms,” are more “considered,” with multipart structures and some glockenspiel action, and are the best stuff on the disc.