I had a total blast exploring the vivid musical imagination of ‘Grown Up Avenger Stuff.’ The group consists of Deirdre Kroener, and who I could only assume is the family trio of Hunter, Tyler, and John Thomsen. The foursome makes some of the most diversified and esoteric music around, wrapping up in the music tortilla of rock and roll, fun, and never having to grow up- and downright not wanting to.
I had to pause for a moment to get my bearings on ‘Grown Up Avenger Stuff.’ They are one part punk rock in the vein of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s debut LP- one part ‘They Might Be Giants” wholesome cleverness, and one part Florence and the Machine in the dynamic and whimsically adorable voice of the female front woman (in this case, Deirdre).
This builds a clever chemical concoction of wild energy, adrenaline-led rock, and accessible lyrics and singing. The group’s latest EP ‘Sparkleton’ is a romp through guitar-centered rock and wispy vocals. The lead track ‘Some Of Us’ finds a simpler melody leading Deirdre Kroener through one of the best vocal performances on the whole EP. ‘The Man’ is a frenetic drum-led punk rock adventure, taking a fold straight from Karen O’s book of the poppy punk coolness manual. ‘Pins’ is an album highlight, focusing more on a lot of the indie rock powerhouse elements that make groups like ‘Young the Giant’ and ‘Imagine Dragons’ such a success in the indie sphere. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Grown Up Avenger Stuff become one of those surface mainstream bands. Heck, Foster the People became a surprise summer jam in 2011. ‘Grown Up Avenger Stuff’ have plenty of silly jams at their belt.
And this is ultimately what makes the group so impressionable and harmless, in a good way. The music is remarkably well-made, a tight construct of 7 accessible pop/rock tracks, led by the vocal up-and-down dynamics of our fascinating front woman. (Pins is a stellar example of her voice). She’s a brilliant and radiant personality, a voice that perfectly encapsulates the music behind it, without ever overwhelming the instruments or became too overbearing.
If ‘Sparkleton’ is the best or the last thing the group ever produces, we are to be happy that such a sensational little group gathered long enough to record it. The EP is vivacious, loud, and Pixies-like in its ability to craft superior pop over aggressive soft/loud dynamics. I see “family friendly” being pitched with the band as a major attribute, and though I don’t necessarily hear it, ‘Grown up Avenger Stuff’ is drowning in accessibility, silliness, and the good kind of immaturity. This makes them a true delight.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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