Reviewed by Kit Burns
Nebraska-based modern rockers Garfan piece together parts of Alternative Nation past and present and manage to weave their obvious influences into something quite listenable. Vocalist Katie Preston is a bit of a chameleon, shifting singing styles depending on the varying directions of the band. Against a wall of guitar fuzz a la Smashing Pumpkins, Preston channels the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde on “I’ve Been Waiting,” delivering despondent lines like, “I’ve been waiting so long/For someone like you,” with palpable yearning. On “My Life,” Preston sounds eeriely similar to the late Patty Donahue of the Waitresses (“I Know What Boys Like”), offering New Wave swagger amidst the crunchy guitars. “Stand Up,” on the other hand, finds Preston in a feral mode not to far off from Blondie’s Deborah Harry (program “One Way or Another” after it).
Yes, Garfan are on the retro side but the kids probably won’t notice and certainly the grown-ups have an appetite for nostalgia that never seems to be satisfied. Certainly Garfan are an enjoyable alternative to the parade of pale-skinned emo wussies once cutting-edge radio stations are continuing to worship. The psychedelic riffs of “Deborah” and the slash-and-burn Pixies charge of “Of Course I Do” rock harder than much of what is selling at Hot Topic today.