September 22, 2011

Album Review: Big Troubles' Romantic Comedy

Longstanding Oakland-based label Slumberland Records has over two decades of acclaimed releases under its belt that cater to an undying shoegaze audience. With recent breakthroughs by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Crystal Stilts and Weekend, the label has again become the premier home to a who's who of the genre's future. Their latest acquisition in recent BUZZSound Big Troubles offers further evidence of trending 90's nostalgia and shoegaze's second life while exemplifying how Slumberland consistently continues to achieve its success.

The New Jersey quartet arrived on the scene last year with a gauzy debut, Worry that took all the right cues from their predecessors in a rougher sense, but it's on their sophomore effort, Romantic Comedy that they opt to ease that influence subtly with lush indie pop and fuzzy hooks akin to '90s grunge-era alternative. It's also obvious from the get-go that Big Troubles have meticulously crafted LP 2 as a collection of sappy heartquenchers and lyrical love letters to suit the album title.

Album opener "She Smiles for Pictures," "You'll Be Laughing" and the recent single, "Sad Girls" are packed with sunny twee and enough self-deprecatingly comical word choice to paint "poor sap" pictures of the band's dueling lead singers Alex Craig and Ian Drennan ("Love is in the air but I don't care 'cause I don't want to love anymore. And if I were to again, I think I'd jam a hole in my head...") while scuzzy power pop numbers like "Misery," "Minor Keys" and "Time Bomb" could have easily made Big Troubles' a staple rotation on MTV's 120 Minutes.

Amid the jangle and hiss of distortion, the soft, dreamy side to the indie outfit envelope Romantic Comedy when the tempos are gliding and the guitars are pushed into the background to make way for lush synths ("You'll Be Laughing," "Softer Than Science" and the outstanding closer, "Never Mine.") Easily digestible and cohesively varied in sound, Big Troubles have written a winning script on their sophomore effort Romantic Comedy, adding yet another victory to Slumberland's winning streak.

Big Troubles' Romantic Comedy will be released September 27, 2011 on Slumberland Records.

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