Garageland

Tired of being single, yet turned off by pricey video dating services? Still ducking into the ladies' room every time that potential serial killer who answered your personal ad slinks into your favorite watering hole? Don't give up, music lover! There's a surefire way to start waltzing down the path to true romance, and it's as simple as picking up Do What You Want (Foodchain), the stellar second album from Auckland, New Zealand, quartet Garageland.

Sound impossible? Just listen to this testimonial: A couple years ago, a comely Seattle lass had so much fun at Garageland's Emerald City show that the next night she decided to drive to Portland to hear them again. At that gig, she met an equally winning fellow, and before the night was over, little cartoon hearts were dancing around their silhouettes.

To cut a long story short, the two were married this summer. And as their best man, I began my toast with, "I'd like to say theirs was a storybook romance, but I don't recall any fairy tales that begin with 'Once upon a time, there was an indie rock band from New Zealand called Garageland. . . .'"

This is not an isolated incident. "That happens a lot," swears singer-guitarist Jeremy Eade from the other side of the world. "I see them coupling off right in front of me all the time. It's just something in our music, the way we play. We create harmony."

That may be true, but melody is Garageland's forte, along with squalls of guitar that sweep the listener up in a blissful rush. The new album streamlines those strengths with a tighter band sound and increased production polish, while still retaining the catchy, concise tunes and crunchy arrangements that distinguished earlier releases like the Special Come Back EP and Last Exit to Garageland.

Indeed, Garageland—who have been together since 1992—inspire the sort of rabid devotion that can not only bring couples together but also call a potential mate's compatibility into question. For his part, Eade admits that while he was once a love-me, love-my-record-collection type of guy, his criteria for a mate have changed with age. "If we had totally opposite record collections, it would be very difficult," he admits. "But that's the beauty of meeting at a gig: You probably have similar musical tastes."

But surely there are discs the rocker loves that ruffle his girlfriends' feathers? "There comes a point where I take out Exile on Main Street or something like that, and they're not into it," he concedes. "But she has to go to work sometime, so I'll put it on then." As one might expect from a man whose new album kicks off with the no-nonsense hooks of "Love Song," Eade is a lover, not a fighter. "I've learned the hard way not to make things difficult for yourself."

New Zealand, like the rest of the world, is busily buckling down for the onslaught of Christmas. But the festivities in Auckland aren't very different from ours. Well, almost. "It doesn't snow down here because it's the Southern Hemisphere, but we have all the trappings of a winter Christmas. It's quite bizarre. We have the tree and a very heavy midday meal. We basically have an English Christmas—but in the middle of summer. It's always really hot and sticky here, but we persevere with this kind of big winter feast."

And the yule in Auckland wouldn't be complete without Christmas in the Park, when roughly 200,000 of the city's million-plus populace turn up to watch local TV personalities butcher beloved carols and Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers. Eade, however, won't be among the ranks, on- or off-stage. Even if he were invited to perform, Christmas songs aren't in his repertoire; apparently, retaining the lyrics to anybody else's songs is nigh impossible.

"I'll start singing along, and by the fourth line I'm into gibberish lyrics," he reveals. "I'm not really sure what happens in any of them. But it's always anticlimactic when somebody puts a lyric sheet in front of you and you find out. 'What? Why do they want figgy pudding? That's boring!'" Which isn't to suggest that Eade despises seasonal ditties. "They're all positive songs. There's no Christmas angst carols, nothing Limp Bizkit could get hold of, so that's nice."

Eade has ulterior motives for skipping Christmas in the Park as well. "It's a good time to burgle houses," he sagely observes. "I've got to make some money somehow."

Until the Christmas in Garageland album becomes a reality, you can help Eade and his bandmates pay off all the gifts they charge (and stay out of jail) by picking up a copy of Do What You Want. And then get ready to share it with someone you love—the band returns to America on tour this spring.

Do What You Want is available now at www.foodchainrecords.com or in stores mid-January 2001.

 
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