Kindred spirits: Elliott Smith, Kings of Convenience
Show: Thursday at the Red Palace. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 202-399-3201. www.redpalacedc.com . $8 in advance; $10 at the door.
Like a package of petit fours, Revolver's music is a refined treat imported from France. But unlike those indulgences, it's hard to consume too much of the trio's friendly chamber pop.
Considering that "Music for a While," Revolver's full-length debut, takes its name from a work by 17th-century composer Henry Purcell, it's no surprise that the outing has an air of baroque dignity. Even though Revolver is a pop act at heart - its sound is based on elegantly played acoustic guitars and gentle drumwork - the band's incorporation of subtle cellos and Ambroise Willaume's patient vocals give the band an uncommon level of sophistication.
That's not to say the band is stuffy or boring. Revolver (named after the Beatles album) has an intellectual sense of whimsy that somehow avoids coming off as precious. "Do You Have a Gun?" ends with a breezy whistled melody, and "Leave Me Alone" features an unexpected harmonica solo. The jolliest (and most irresistible) track is "Get Around Town" - a brisk tune that combines the vocal harmonies of Kings of Convenience with jaunty strings and a catchy lick on the electric guitar.
From the country-flavored "Luke, Mike and John" to the lonesome ballad "Back to You," the album is an easy, enjoyable listen. It sometimes veers into Muzak-y territory, like on closer "It's Alright," but it's an impressive debut for the Parisian 20-somethings.
- Dan Miller