It could be the pull of their humidified hair or those inky sunglasses, but a couple years ago I spent June through August with my head propped against a fan, gorging on the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Darklands. Released just in time for this year’s stickiest days, Tralala, an NYC septet (three backing boys, four singing girls) cheerlead nine summer chants and then, outta nowhere, shift the vibe with “Never Understand,” transforming the Psychocandy gem into a snappy Shangri-Las-meet-the–Modern Lovers anthem (elsewhere, think twee ’90s Teenbeaters Blast Off Country Style into VU, or Grease starring Rizzo in lieu of Sandra Dee). The J&MC remake offers a framework for this Other Music house band: Rescanning the set list, “The Girls Say” ?’s ringing feedback is straight outta Honey’s Dead, as are the “sleepless nights and too much black coffee,” etc. There are other hints at semisweet (strung-out) darkness, even if not directly related to the moping Reid brothers; for instance, “Tralala” itself is the name of Last Exit to Brooklyn‘s gang-raped prostitute (though it could equally signify what a ’60s girl group chirps). Eagle-eyed hipsters will also note the involvement of Audika, a label known for a recent swarm of Arthur Russell releases. All to say: This novelty has more legs than the ones the girls show off in the album’s accompanying glamour shots.
Tralala play Ace of Hearts September 17.