The Proper Ornaments – Wooden Head


If your favorite Jesus and Mary Chain album is Darklands. If your favorite Velvet Underground album is their self-titled third. If your favorite Creation Records band is Teenage Fanclub. These are some of the potential reasons why you might love The Proper Ornaments. The band are actually a duo of Max Claps and James Hoare (the latter also plays in Veronica Falls) handling the singing, songwriting and guitars, with bass and drums rounding out the sound. To be honest their songs are good, but nothing special. You won’t turn to them for jaw-dropping walls of sound or aching vocals to pull at your heartstrings. You will however look to them for unpretentious mid-tempo fuzz pop with good melodic sensibilities and ’60s-styled harmony singing you don’t hear enough of these days. The band also throw a few musical curveballs to keep things fresh over the course of 14 tracks, like “Ruby” and “Tire Me Out” which are both heavily steeped in the melancholic sound of New Zealand indie acts like The Bats and The Clean. My favorite song on Wooden Head is also the one the rips the hardest, “Step Into The Cold”, which may not be much more than an amped-up version of The Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On” with added vocal harmonies, but is that such a bad thing?