Rose Melberg, of famed Sacramento indie band Tiger Trap, is back with an all-new self-titled EP off Slumberland Records from Vancouver girl band Brave Irene. Tiger Trap, widely considered one of the founding bands of the American twee pop movement, had a relatively short one year run but still managed to gain a cult following. Melberg later became involved with other indie pop projects, among them Go Sailor, The Softies, and Gaze, in addition to her own solo material. In December of 2009 in Vancouver, she collaborated with four of her best girl friends and Brave Irene was born.
The album is non-stop catchiness from start to finish, with eight upbeat indie pop songs. The album opener, “No Fun,” is exactly the opposite of its name. Laura Hatfield, the band’s drummer, drives the song on with energetic rhythms. Brave Irene’s sweet harmonies and jangly guitar sound will make you swoon, especially on songs like “Bank Holiday.”
Brave Irene’s debut album is an admirable effort in the world of indie pop, and certainly not a downgrade from Melberg’s previous work. But over a decade and a half, one might expect a little growth or a new sound coming from her latest endeavor. Instead, the songs off Brave Irene are interchangeable with those of Tiger Trap, Go Sailor or any of Melberg’s other bands. It makes you wonder, what’s the point of forming a new band every few years if it’s just going to sound exactly like your old ones? There’s no doubt that Tiger Trap was influential for indie pop, but since then Melberg has yet to create a new footprint for herself. Brave Irene has a quality sound, but it leaves the listener wishing for a little variety. They have all the ingredients necessary to craft some truly stellar indie pop gems, but their sound is stuck in the past.