"A Little Tradition" - Novillero
Smart and sharp, with a Britpop flair, complete with horn charts and marvelous lyrics. And I'm calling the lyrics marvelous based almost entirely on their sound, not their content (although from what I can understand, the content is impressive too). Not many bands work hard enough to get their words so crisply aligned with the music but these five guys from Winnipeg have an enviable knack for songcraft. Check out how precisely everything fits when Rod Slaughter sings "What's wrong with a little tradition?": it's so comfortable it puts a smile on your face--or on my face, at any rate. (And phew, after last week's Mean People's convention in St. Paul, I can use all the smiles I can access.)
Musically, the song takes a revved-up Motown beat and applies an early Elvis Costello-like sense of effortless melody and knowing restraint. Check out how the chorus gives us that bouncy up and down melody at the outset (0:41-0:45), retreats as if to set up another pass at the same melody (0:46-0:49), and then exactly when it "should" repeat (0:50) it doesn't. This is the kind of thing that draws no attention to itself but adds depth and class to what you're listening to.
"A Little Tradition" is the title track to Novillero's third full-length CD, which comes out this week on Mint Records. Novillero was previously featured on Fingertips in June '05 for the truly wonderful song "Aptitude."