In retrospect Butterglory seems inevitable. Like children with a set of building blocks, they conjure a beauty that exists only in the simple and the obvious. The 14 songs on their three singles (two on the Superchunk-owned Merge Records and one on Little Brother) combine a barrel o’ monkeys’ worth of hooks with an understated lyrical ingenuousness. Composed of Debbie Vanderwall (drums) and Matt Suggs (guitar)–two Californians who moved to Lawrence, Kansas, for college, then dropped out and stayed–and an occasional supplemental friend on bass or keyboards, Butterglory combines and recombines a limited stock of elements to instigate endless chains of pop reactions. Not the least of their charms is their unabashed self-consciousness: “Loud, loud goes the music / And the drums come right along / I’m so proud that you use it / At that part in every song.” On their brand-new, full-length debut, Crumble (also on Merge), some of the unfettered pop careening has been tempered by a certain behind-the-beat gangliness that borders on blatant Pavementism. It’s an understandable transgression, but given the grace and insistence of songs like Crumble’s “The Skills of the Star Pilot” (my unanimous choice for song of the year), there’s no reason for Butterglory to copy anyone but themselves. This Tuesday-night appearance promises a more intimate and less crowded setting than their November 3 performance at Metro (though the Metro date promises Superchunk and Wedding Present). 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bob Deck.