Bishop Allen is a pop quartet currently based in Brooklyn, New York, where they live on the same block as Norah Jones, which may or may not mean something. Like Ms. Jones, the Bishops have created their own unique pop music niche, one that sounds at once familiar and unlike anything you've ever heard. To plagiarize a phrase, it's pure pop for now people, if said people happen to be urban, literate, spunky, and postmodern.
"Everybody's saying that I'm not so cool/So I'm going back to charm school," goes a line on Charm School's title track, a bright bit of vanilla-Motown-meets-early-REM jangle. "Eve of Destruction" bites a bit of the PF Sloan/Barry McGuire hit and adds a psychotic rap to produce a post-apocalyptic love song that's bright and buoyant despite its grim lyrics. Meanwhile, "Empire City" sounds like a Mother Goose rhyme as written by Elvis Costello. To Bishop Allen's credit, the echoes of other artists in its new-wave-meets-folk-rock stew are presented with a cheeky style and have been digested so well that everything on Charm School sounds shockingly, amusingly new.
Bishop Allen plays the Make-Out Room in SF on Monday. 415-647-2888.
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