by Elysse Cloma
“Why is Red?” asks KIM GRAY on his solo project Backseat Bingo. The project, recorded by Drew from Dead Ghosts, is written and performed by Trevor Kim Gray (of Skinny Kids), with some help from Skinny Kids bandmate Nicholas Creamore on drums. Available for streaming, pre-order, and digital download on Bandcamp, the 7” vinyl is set to release December 15th on Resurrection Records.
Backseat Bingo is the key to every indie lover’s heart. KIM GRAY wants to take us on dates, so he’s serenading us with a handful of romantic doo-wop garage pop songs. His short, mid-tempo tracks about love employ doo-wop techniques to make us swoon. Backseat Bingo is four songs of tried and true oldies chord progressions on an even-tempered guitar, with heavy bass, modest backing vocals, and surf pop beats. Trevor Kim Gray has the prototypical 50s pop male lead voice. The track “Frank Sinatra” best exemplifies the KIM GRAY sound, with its irresistible clap-along chorus and completely relaxed feel – perfect to unwind to.
While I could listen to KIM GRAY’s hunky-dory sound all day, the songs on Backseat Bingo are unsurprising. They feel like ideas for songs that plateau quickly and end abruptly. The bass line on “Why Is Red?” carries an otherwise dull song that seems to blend with the rest of the tracks on Backseat Bingo. Also, just when you’re convinced that “Why Is Red?” is its own unique song, it ends suddenly. “Slow Medication” has a faster tempo, but is also brief and fleeting. There’s nothing particularly memorable or distinct about KIM GRAY’S songs, save for their names.
KIM GRAY’s Backseat Bingo is like an impossible crush: promising, yet disappointing. It sounds great, but my hopes are dashed when it falls short in terms of variety and song structure. Granted, there are only four songs on Backseat Bingo, but it’s worth a listen if you like musing about hipster dreamboat crushes, like Mac DeMarco, Frankie Cosmos, or Karen O.
Top Tracks: “Frank Sinatra”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)