San Francisco's Laughing Stock don't just wear their influences on their sleeves, they named their band after one of them. From the first moments of the band's self-titled debut, you can hear the heavy (and welcome) influence of
Talk Talk's seminal 1991 release, Laughing Stock. But Laughing Stock should not be dismissed as mere imitators; they have etched out their own unique space in the musical landscape. The group creates its sonic textures and infectious rhythms with a combination of Alex Nahas's peculiar ten-string Chapman Stick, John Brevik's eerie noirish organ style, and Eric Gebow's intoxicating bouts of tribal trash can drumming. Nahas's soulful yet earnest sounds complete their sound. "Driving Days" and "Hole" (both from their 1999 self-titled debut on Dept. of Ways & Means) demonstrate Laughing Stock's knack for stirring up emotion in even the coldest of hearts.