I can now scratch one more thing off my to-do list: I finally caught Lendway, who played the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge last night. Their mellow, sometimes melancholy, other times lilting sound was the perfect complement to a dreary Wednesday night in March. Picture Weezer covering Pavement's "Range Life" or Pavement covering anything off Rubber Soul, and you'll start to get an idea of what they sounded like. This isn't entirely fair, though, because they have a pretty unique sound that no other band in Burlington is doing right now (to the best of my knowledge- feel free to set me straight in the comments section). One thing's for sure: they're definitely shoegazers. Literally.
They spent a lot of time staring at the floor during their set. The band seemed a little uncomfortable in their own skin, and the between song banter was blind-date awkward. But maybe they were just feeling out of their element; it was an all-ages show and there were a lot of young kids there. In fact, the tween courtship rituals going on all around me were pretty distracting. That's probably why I didn't stick around to hear any of the other bands on the bill.
Lendway's sound is clean, featuring reverb and echo instead of fuzz and distortion. The two guitar players meshed really well together; at times (like in the song "Two Sleepy Arms") playing a point-counterpoint rhythm that reminded me of the first Strokes album, which I am very fond of. "Hollywood" also caught my ear with a nice hook in the chorus and intelligent lyrics ("you're my Hollywood"). But where they really shined was in their vocal harmonies, another factor that sets them apart from the pack. Solid vocal harmonies give a song so much more depth and substance, and you just don't hear a lot of bands doing it. Lendway did it well, especially in the coda of "Yardsale", where all four members leaned into their microphones. The band impressed me enough to make me want to hear their album, which they were selling at the show on cd or vinyl. You can hear a few tracks for yourself at their MySpace page.