Canadian group revisits the glory days of mod.
Vancouver has long had a knack for producing sprightly new wave bands, so the five-guy Tranzmitors emerging from the municipality that produced the Modernettes and Young Canadians is no shock. Their sound, though, could actually pass for British as easily as it could pass for 1981 — which might help explain why, in the U.K., they're also the first band in decades to put out an album on Stiff Records.
The group's mod-revival melodies and snazzy wardrobe and crushes-on-birds-at-the-tube-station-after-school's-out sensibility owe the most to the Jam, with further Anglophile echoes of XTC's early herky-jerk, Madness's chip-shop ska and Robert Smith's mopey whine; the title “Why Don't Boys Cry” clearly connects to the Cure, too.
But their obsessions seem uncomplicated, across the board: Sometimes they get spurned, and sometimes they don't. In “Beating Up My Heart,” a girl keeps opting for the singer's friends, which damages his self-esteem Offspring-style; “Last Night,” contrariwise, has him patting himself on the back for seducing someone the evening before. “All the boys wanna get laid/ All the the girls wanna misbehave,” claims Tranzmitors'rather polite rebellion statement “Everybody Wants to Lose Control.” And if their music never quite loses control itself, that's part of its charm.