The Four Five [Uk]: Reseña "Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything"
The School - Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything
Twee has always been a pretty popular style, but it's been especially popular lately. This sophomore album from The School comes hot on the heels of a wave of popular, widely publicized releases from buzz bands like Tennis and Cults that called back to older eras of indie pop in a big way. But here's to hoping that fans out there are still interested sugary hooks and nostalgic songs, because Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything is one of the better straight pop albums I've heard in a long, long time.
Placed immediately after the prologue-esque 'What's Just Begun', lead single 'Never Thought I'd See The Day' kicks off the album proper with an upbeat, jangly indie pop tune featuring bright organs, handclap rhythms, and an effortlessly catchy pop melody that's hard to deny. It's infectious and immediate, and launches The School firmly into the realm currently occupied by recent guitar pop up-and-comers like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
But as the album goes on, the band's other influences become apparent. As far as twee goes, the School don't seem indebted to either the sounds of C86 or more recent lo-fi indie pop. Rather, they blend the lush chamber pop of Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura with a nearly fetishistic devotion to 1960s pop sensibilities. Much like that Belle and Sebastian-related project, God Help The Girl,Reading Too Much Into Things often hearkens back to the glory days of girl groups: songs like 'It's Not The Same' and 'Some Day My Heart Will Beat Again' recall these sounds so heavily that they might as well be the best songs Phil Spector never released. Other sounds from the world of 60s pop show up as well: 'The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side' and 'I Should Do' are pure McCartney, both sounding like they could have been picked straight off ofRevolver and given a smooth new female vocal. The 60s reference points are highlighted even on the albums' cover, which seems to have been designed to mimic the sleeves of classic mod pop albums.
Some might find the fixation on these influences to be grating, but there's really just a lot to love here. Lead singer Liz has one of those silky twee voices that's really hard not to fall in love with, effortless in its beauty and tunefulness. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the album never really lets up. The front of the album is so loaded with great tunes that it actually comes as a shock that the second half holds up just as well. You almost naturally expect for the album to work itself into a rut of mediocre songs, but suddenly the album is over before it can even threaten to do that. Every song is just about as strong as that last, and, at a lean 30 minutes, this makes for an incredibly solid slice of pop.
This is the kind of album that could spark a really haughty discussion (and a few overwrought think-pieces) on the value of overtly nostalgic albums or the need for 'progression' from modern bands. But really, this album is just excellently made and is a joy to listen to. Saying anything to the contrary would be dishonest. As clear as the influences and homages on this album are, The School very much make Reading Too Much Into Things their own. There's nobody out there right now doing quite what this band does as well as they do, and with this album they've proven that they're a band worth having around.
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