While there have been rumors of breakups and in-fighting, the appropriately named debut from The Catch Fire, Rumormill, is a testament that powerful pop-rock can be created without delving into the cheesy and overproduced corners of the music universe. Opening with the catchy title track, singer/guitarist Mike Mitschele (Jolene, Alternative Champs) gets backing vocal help from multi-instrumentalist Jon Lindsay (Jon Lindsay, The Young Sons). The duo's vocals harmonize nicely against an upbeat curtain that includes synth drops and quick-tempo beats. "This city's not your friend, she's just a rumor mill," might be one of the favorite chorus lines I've heard in all of 2011. Where Mitschele's vocals offer more of an indie rock vibe, Lindsay's higher register usually swings things in favor of retro. The combination presents some of the best songwriting and male harmonies heard in the Queen City. Lindsay often adds the perfect splash where needed instead of simply singing the same words in a different key. It's that ability to layer the vocals horizontally across verses that sets apart their harmonies. "Ambulance" starts slow with a hanging ambience before breaking down into a near-feedback fusion soundwave of instrumentation before stripping back down and slowly building up in emotion. A solid work from start to finish by a band that doesn't perform around town nearly enough — catch them when you can.
RIYL: Teenage Fanclub, The Posies, Elvis Costello, Alternative Champs, Jon Lindsay