Monday, February 18, 2008

Album Review:
Headlights - Some Racing Some Stopping

Headlights - Some Racing, Some Stopping

(Polyvinyl; 2008)

Grade: 79% [GOLD SOUNDS]

[mp3]"Cherry Tulips"

Just when I think I'm tired of the whole Indie Rock scene, tired of all the bullshit posturing and posing, the hype, the hyperbole, the hit and miss albums that just won't go away, epic songs, the word "epic" describing nearly every song that's over 6 minutes, and overwrought album reviews that have more semi-colons than references to the actual music, an album like Some Racing, Some Stopping comes along and reminds me of the simple pleasures that only a good pop song can offer.

When you get right down to it, Some Racing is bound to be overlooked and underrated. It's not as if it jumps up and down, screaming "Ooh, ooh, over here! Listen to me!" Yet, the unassuming nature of this album is part of the charm, because it will positively suck you in without you even knowing. Songs that might initially evoke Belle & Sebastian or Camera Obscura take subtle shifts and make all the right moves, often building into blissful bedroom rock for bleeding hearts. Even better is the pairing of the titular track and "So Much For the Afternoon." These two tracks see the band flexing their creative muscle, proving once and for all that they have more to offer than just energetic indie pop. "Afternoon" is especially stunning, as it manages to evoke both Radiohead's excellent, slow burning, infidelity laden "House of Cards," and Broken Social Scene's swirling "Shampoo Suicide," yet Headlights make it sound uniquely their own.

Some Racing, Some Stopping may not be a revelation, but like Tapes 'N Tapes' debut or, yes, Camera Obscura's most recent release, it is unpretentious, refreshing, and enjoyable. Given the chance, this album it should keep you humming for weeks.


The Moon said...

I like!

They sound kind of like a much simpler and more condensed Stars...

Which is good! Because as much as I liked Set Yourself On Fire, that album seriously could have used some self control. I mean, there are at least 3 points toward the end where you think it's going to end... and then another song plays and you're like, "Huh?!?! there's more?" but not in a good way...

Femme Fatale said...

I just downloaded this album, too. "Unassuming" is a good word for it, because you're right, it doesn't grab you by the throat and demand your attention. Sometimes I think we all really NEED those types of albums though.

I can definitely see the Camera Obscura comparison.

By the way, has anyone seen the video for "Cherry Tulips"? I dig the song, but this video just makes me want to slap the singer. Maybe it's a personal problem.

Femme Fatale said...

I would also like to add that the closing track "January" sounds JUST like Elliott Smith.

Gossip♥Grrl said...

I couldn't find this album to download so got their one from 2006. I haven't listened to it yet though. I agree that it doesn't grab me either but I kind of like it. I'm trying to give more things a chance because lately everything is dullsville.

Femme Fatale - I did watch part of the video but then just listened to the song instead. It wasn't that great. Haha.

SonicRyan said...

Head over to Coke Machine Glow and read their review, its pretty much exactly how I feel about the album, but longer and more in depth.

I should note that I too hear Stars, but I really don't like Stars that much, and couldn't stand their new one at all. (Coke Machine Glow also made this observation) There's absolutely no reason to like this album, but I do. A lot.