ACL Fest 2015: Børns is going to be huge

Borns during the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)
Børns during the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

Børns is the kind of act that always hits the spot on ACL Sunday.

The poppy, bright, and danceable project of Garrett Borns is from Michigan, not Scandinavia. They don’t even have a full album out yet (it drops later this month), instead they’re relying on a couple of beauty tracks on EPs, and, it turns out, a tight live set, with big, emotional hooks.

It’s hard to not feel good, hearing those big melodies. Borns himself is a gifted singer; a clear tone with a huge range. Bit of a Jeff Buckley thing on the go. But his band is pretty hot too. They make pop but with plenty of guitars, and rock, but with a synth and drum machine. A lot of big heartpounding bass beats and some spacey guitars keep the kids on their toes. (That is, you can dance to it.)

“This song’s about a weird pool party I went to once. Have you been to one of those?” Borns bantered before the band’s sparkling gem, “10,000 Emerald Pools.”

“Everyone has,” he continued, “they’re the ones where nobody’s getting in the pool.”

Then the packed crowd at the Honda stage was belting out the chorus right along with ’em.

The one misstep was a Led Zepplin cover. Borns’ voice is up to the task, but this band is too … cheery, to rip a Zepplin cover.

Børns is like pop candy, but the band is way better than it has to be. Nice drumming, a sweet guitar solo, and solid harmony. So it was a little off-putting to hear the lead singer quit the stage, thanking the audience and saying “I am Børns!” We get it, this is your show. But we already knew that. A little more love for the band goes a long way to making sure you don’t develop a Messiah complex.

This band is probably going to be huge.

 

 

Author: Luke Quinton

Freelancer for the Austin American-Statesman and public radio.

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