There’s no shame in acknowledging one’s influences. Matthew Kelly, lead singer-guitarist for the Los Angeles ethereal-pop group The Autumns, freely admits they worship the ground that the Cocteau Twins walk on.
“That band, in particular, is so important because that was a revolutionary step in our development, being introduced to that band,” Kelly said recently. “When we were younger, we were so into the Smiths and Stone Roses, and at one point, we were introduced to the Cocteau Twins and it really resonated with everyone in a very deep way. A sort of obsession developed.
“One of the good things about having them as a primary influence is that it’s very difficult to sound like them, but you can still be influenced by them. We can’t be called a rip-off because there’s no way I’m ever going to sound like (Cocteau Twins lead singer) Elizabeth Fraser.”
The Autumns do their heroes proud on their Risk Records debut album, “The Angel Pool” (released Oct. 21), wrapping warm harmonies around spright, jangly guitars and moody vocals.
It’s a far cry from when Kelly first began working with friends Jon Santana (bass), Frank Koroshec (guitar) and Eric Crissman (drums) in 1992 during their senior year in high school.
“It was a real pop thing, sort of like Roy Orbison meets the Smiths,” Kelly said. “It was melodic and what not, but the noise element wasn’t really there at all. We weren’t layering so many guitars. What we’re doing now is much more interesting.”
Playing on the crowded Southern California club scene, The Autumns were “getting blown away” by older bands with better equipment and stage presence, Kelly said. A shift in songwriting began when the elaborate noises surfaced, and in turn, the band let the songs flow naturally. “We weren’t trying to be Johnny Marr anymore,” Kelly said, “and when that happened, it was much easier to pull off live.”
BWF (before we forget): Fall forward with The Autumns on the Web @ www.riskrecords.com.