Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Tight Pants Syndrome 

Fully Attractive
(BLIP! BLAP! Records & Tapes)

You would need a graphing calculator, a strong cup of coffee and a really good memory to keep track of Tight Pants Syndrome's many different incarnations. This city's purest power-pop band has become a revolving door of sorts: Fully Attractive features contributions from one-time frontman Tim McAvin, who now leads Karate Bikini, as well as lead vocals from Erin Hogan, who has since moved away from St. Louis. Bassist Brian McClelland (ex-Maxtone Four) and TPS guitarist/cofounder Tom Stephens rounds out the live lineup. These shifts can be dizzying, but it's to the band's credit that the album makes for such seamless listening, even with four lead vocalists sharing the mic. Lovers of pop music, whether '60s girl groups, '70s bubblegum or nervy, New Pornographers-esque indie rock, will find a new favorite song among these gems.

The band shoots for extravagance on opener "New Hit Record (Tammy)." Harp glissandos, tympani rolls and a battalion of harmony vocalists construct a wall of sound while the lyrics offer a meta commentary that guides the rest of the disc: It's a great pop song about writing a great pop song. On the rest of the seventeen-song disc, the band's bag of tricks is well worn but always effective. A chiming twelve-string opens "Get Outta My Haircut," keyboardist Jenn Malzone's punchy ultimatum, and later bom-bom-bom harmonies buoy McAvin's "Honey." You're probably never going to fall in love with a TPS song for the lyrics, and that's OK — these tunes are conveyances for hooks and harmonies, and many of these cheeky rhymed couplets are good for a smirk on the first few listens. Malzone's "Waiting on a Signal" follows suit, but her coolly seductive delivery (along with ubiquitous harmony vocals and some elegant string flourishes) make the song a highlight.

It's the eternal curse of the always-evolving Tight Pants Syndrome that this record, made with this now-defunct lineup, may be the group's best work. But with McClellan, Stephens and Malzone still keeping the band (and brand) alive, the best may be yet to come. (If the wealth of tracks on Attractive doesn't sate your need for effervescent guitar rock, the band is giving away a limited-edition EP titled Don't Panic at this Saturday's release show, including a cover of Wings' eternal "Jet.")

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail for more information.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Related Locations

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation