Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Differents

First, I must admit to you that I don’t know that much about The Differents. A somewhat extensive web search of the band, the single and the catalogue number brought up absolutely nothing about them, other than a few sites where people were selling copies of the single. 

From what I can surmise from the copy on the back of the sleeve, there are just two members, Peter R (drums and vocals) and Stan Walter (guitar and vocals) and neither of them look like they get enough sunlight (though this could be due to the black and yellow photo on the cover or is that just how people looked in 1993?). They hail from this address in Southington, CT and the single was recorded by Kramer at Noise New Jersey and released on New York’s Shimmy Disc label. As the band appear to have only released one 7” single, this of course only leads to more questions. But that’s part of the joy of finding obscure records, the enduring mystery. 

Side A of this strange and titleless single is a track called “go between” (without any capital letters). Though the band features a guitarist and a drummer, this is a far more subdued affair than say, the White Stripes, or Flat Duo Jets. The song is a catchy 60’s pop influenced track that is almost typical of New England indie bands of the era. Though it seems that the sparse instrumentation of just acoustic guitar and minimal drum kit is a specific choice, the band try and fill the sonic space with vocals. More precisely, the huge amount of echo that’s been applied to both the lead and backing vocals. Whilst there are points where this is a bit confusing, especially in the harmonised chorus, it actually works surprisingly well and serves to lend some atmosphere to the song. The B side, “Cowboy Killer” has a decidedly more upbeat, country feel to it. The production is very similar, though the expansive echo has been reigned in a fair bit. The song, all about killing off the more pretty and active members of society, is laced with a sense of humour that doesn’t seem too far removed from acts such as Ween.

As a record collector, there is something incredibly satisfying in singles like this one. These unknown bands are what make record collecting so much fun. You pick the record up with little to no idea about what it will sounds like on the off chance you’ve found a hidden gem. Of course it’s a very hit and miss game but when you find a single as fun, catchy and intriguing as this one and only single by The Differents, all those misses seem worthwhile.

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