When Blue Horns first appeared on the Portland scene more than a year ago, the band's songs were still rough around the edges. To some extent, that roughness was part of Blue Horns' aesthetic: Colin Howard plays jangly guitar riffs with a garage-meets-southern rock tinge, while guitarist and vocalist Brian Park shouts energetic "1-2-3s" between crooning his warbly, poppy lyrics. But sometimes, that lack of polish was too obvious, overshadowing the talent behind Blue Horns' music. A lot can change in a year, and the pop quartet has polished and tightened its sound. On songs like "Shotgun Wedding," Howard's jangle complements the rhythm of the drums and bass, creating a real, foot-stomping beat. Park's warble is clearer; he now channels David Bowie and Iggy Pop, making the band's lyrics such as "Asking the questions/That I want to hear/The truth is too hard" from "Let's Go Hunting" actually discernible. Now the band's roughness is clearly cultivated, rather than accidental. Blue Horns has the punk aesthetic of 1970s pioneers Television, but the mass appeal of Bowie. What was once just a Portland band with promise is on its way to gaining a reputation in the Northwest scene.
Fri., Feb. 27, 9 p.m., 2009