Grade: 91% (A-)
It certainly is a "corporate world," from FreeCreditReport.com commercials to race car drivers selling their cars as moving advertisements. But then again, that encompasses a majority of this Detroit indie-rock duo. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. certainly enjoys to screw around. Whether it is their on stage race car suits or even their music video featuring them and friends in a race themselves, they known how to have fun. That is shown most through their debut LP. This record is thirty-seven minutes of relaxing and well constructed indie-pop featuring impressive guitar work shielded by cool vocals.
The album opens with two drum driven songs, which is funny considering the band doesn't include a full-time drummer. The opener "Morning Thought" samples piano noises to start and then leads in with a solid rhythm accompanied by guitar work that just slides to fit in. The soaring chorus is a summertime masterpiece which leads into the beauty of the acoustically drawn up second track. "Nothing But Our Love" includes lyrics that are somehow both intro and extroverted. The sampling moves well with the vocals that make you want to sit in a giant bean bag chair and just release all of the air in your body. With a chorus seemingly mocking the soaring heights of those of the first song, give this song a few listens before you are singing it to yourself without even knowing.
While the lyrics are both personally relevant and socially commenting, some are simply a smack in the face. Take for example "An Ugly Person On a Movie Screen," where they sing, "you're something no one wants to see, like an ugly person on a movie screen." Songs like "Skeletons" and "When I Open My Eyes" show impressive production skills, seamlessly mixing the backing and front vocals both with effects to continue the mood of the whole record. The two can turn it up and rock too as they show on the title track and the track referring to the decrepit state of their hometown. The dance rhythms of "It's a Corporate World" lead into the back and forth chorus that encompasses the entire album as a whole singing, "it's a corporate world, I'm a corporation cutting back." On "We Almost Lost Detroit," funky keyboard work builds with straight power chords into easily the best hook on the album, with the shouting of the song's title interluded by a perfect guitar riff.
It's clear that these guys had a lot on their minds and a lot to talk about while recording, but the album as a whole is extremely well produced and mixed. It'd be nice to have more bands emerge featuring two talented musicians who just want to screw around and make music that they seem to enjoy making and performing.