Billboard Hot 100 Fest
THE ESSEX GREEN, "Cannibal Sea"
As power pop/punk continues to dominate charts and shelf space, sweet, bubbly indie pop is becoming more of a rarity.As power pop/punk continues to dominate charts and shelf space, sweet, bubbly indie pop is becoming more of a rarity. Even more rare: groups that can do it well. Rilo Kiley and the New Pornographers have had success in recent years, but most of the great bands from the '90s that really excelled in this style have dissipated. Not to fret though: Brooklyn's the Essex Green have nearly perfected that yesteryear sound that made bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Luna and Of Montreal cult favorites.
"Cannibal" Sea is the band's third full-length, and delivers infectious hooks in a very immediate way -- its hard not to fall in love with each and every song upon first listen. "Rubber Soul" is an obvious touchstone, but "Cannibal Sea" doesn't feel like a rip-off. It's all very simple: sweet male / female harmonies over guitar-based pop, with a few folksy tracks thrown in for good measure. Much like Rilo Kiley's "More Adventurous," "Cannibal Sea" has sleeper hit written all over it. -- Michael D. Ayers