Ribbons are from the borough of Brooklyn. In recent years, that hasn't been a cause for much celebration from this asshole, but they do up the 'Heath Band' factor a bit. Said Heath helps the band out and (I believe) hooked the kids up with the production team of Josh Loar and Anna Ehl to engineer Surprise Attacks. Good ears plus good band and good recording normally make for good records. The planets seem to have aligned to make this the case once more.
I have very little (read: none) affection for the bumper crop of new-school deconstructionist combos that have sprung up in the White Stripes' snail trail. Do the math: Matt and Kim are truly excrable, as are Mates Of State, and Black Keys need a bass player. White Stripes get minor props for allowing a woman with Down's Syndrome to get behind the kit, but none of these combos lend any credence to the idea that less is more. Ribbons continue the the recessive trend by plying their trade in the form of the trendy guitar/drums duo, but have the good taste to arrange their songs properly so as not to stink up the joint.
As it revolves around job duties on the good ship Ribbons, Sam Roudman handles the traps while Jenny Logan slings strings and sings. I hear a lot of Siouxsie in the vocals and a general Joy Division vibe all-around on Surprise Attacks. The female vocals are a nice change of pace, and do well in keeping silly Ian Curtis vocals out of the fray. Thanks to the pagan gods for that! The higher register is infinitely more pleasant, and more practically saves them from being eaten up by Roudman and his relentless pummelling of the drum kit. Pummel is by no means an understatement. I'm not sure what that drum kit did to Sam, but rest assured that it's paying the price.
While he beats the ever living hell out of that kit all over Surprise Attacks, the drums are never obtrusive. Logan does a great job of filling up the extra space with alternately atmospheric and jagged guitar and actual singing. She gets points for neither screeching and howling nor going all American Idol on the mike. It would be nice if other **ahem** vocalists (of either gender) would jump on that bandwagon.
Surprise Attacks is hooky without being poppy and interesting without being pretentious. That's a remarkable eventuality in this day and age, especially in a band coming from NYC. There are MP3s here and you can download the record from Amazon, Napster and I would venture I-tunes. I got a hard copy of Surprise Attacks through Team Ribbons and I can only assume you can buy it at shows. Luckily for your ear and eye holes, they play this Friday (8/22) at Hank's Saloon and Monday (8/25) at ex-galapagos. Both shows are in Brooklyn. Check the link below for more info.