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It’s a Scout thing

The Webelos are loyal but not to convention

The Webelos

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Is there a need, anymore, to make a point of defining certain bands as “bedroom pop”? More and more, the act of retreating to one’s bedroom and putting hissy, intimate pop to tape (or computer) is becoming as common as garage bands ever were. The only reason I bring it up is because the Webelos (a bedroom pop band) declare in “Yellow is the Color” that they’ve moved out of the bedroom and are now “living room pop.” Fair enough.

The Webelos got their start when Jim Smith, lead singer and guitarist, became frustrated with writing. He had made a go at it, but failed to get his work published. So, he did what I’m surprised doesn’t happen more often, and parlayed his talent into songwriting. As a bedroom pop band, after all, you publish yourself. He teamed up with bassist Timothy Firth, and together they founded the Webelos. In the three years of the Webelos’ existence, the lineup has changed and grown, eventually landing on the current roster, which features Smith and Firth, and also includes Noelle Machnicki and Bryan Madronico. Together these Webelos have begun recording a debut LP.

Musically, the Webelos tend to incorporate elements of disparate genres like folk, psychedelia and electronica, and transport them — intact — into the same song. For instance, “Holy Shit Mountain” breezes by on icy beats intruded upon by distorted, choppy guitars. On “Inside my Head,” winsome acoustic guitars are joined by insistent handclaps and bubbling synths. A scratchy, analog beat rides under “Jack the Ripper,” accompanied by smooth violins and a hook that almost sounds like the fluid hum of a detuned radio. Contradictions are the Webelos’ bread and butter.

Why are they called the Webelos, you may ask? “It’s a Scout thing,” says Smith. “I think it goes: [Wolf] Scout, Bear Scout, Webelos Scout … something like that.”

Research reveals Webelos is actually an acronym that stands for “We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.”

Something I’ve never held dear was loyalty to convention, and, thankfully, the Webelos don’t either.

[Le Voyeur, the Webelos with Thought Bandit, Saturday, Nov.  28, 8 p.m., no cover, 404 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943.5710]

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Donald Glaude

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