Big Troubles second full length Romantic Comedy comes to us off of Slumberland Records which is home to the likes of Crystal Stilts and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (who happen to be touring with Big Troubles this year). While their debut Worry was drenched in lo-fi hiss and fuzz, the production on Romantic Comedy has taken a total 180 thanks to help from former R.E.M. and Pavement producer Mitch Easter. Though their first album could certainly be grouped into the 90’s-indie-rock-revivalism “movement,” Romantic Comedy fits tightly into their tour-mates take on the revival, perhaps to a fault. The album oozes with familiarity (it’s a “revival” after all), but doesn’t offer as much in personality.
The album hits strides on early released “Misery,” first single “Sad Girls,” and “Time Bomb.” “Misery” opens with a bass drop followed by hushed vocals (which are common throughout the album) and a sparse guitar line before coming to the chorus which borders on anthemic. The group finds success using distorted guitars and reverb with upbeat drums for “Time Bomb,” though it is bound to stand out against the cleaner sound of the rest of the album. “Sad Girls” is quite catchy with multiple guitars and synths that build to a refrain that begs to be sung along to. But with lyrics like “Love is in the air, but I don’t care/Cause I don’t want to love anymore” it borders on being somewhat campy, something the album as a whole suffers from.
Throughout its 35 minutes, Romantic Comedy is definitely enjoyable. It’s pleasant, catchy at times, and adeptly produced. But it is also quite safe. It lacks the some of the vigor of the bands they take for influences. Some of their 90s-revival peers give us songs that clearly take cues from their idols without sacrificing the freshness of new music. While they establish a clear sound and stick to it well, Romantic Comedy often feels more like emulation than revival.
WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-1/2
Key Tracks: “Misery” “Sad Girls and “Time Bomb”.
RIYL: The Legends, and Shout Out Louds.
W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!