Love Thy Neighbour Presents:
Ringing from hi-fi headphones and blown-out boombox speakers alike comes the overloaded guitar genius of Easy Listening, a record of rock ‘n’ roll daydreams and terminal boredom, and 2nd Grade’s long awaited second LP on Double Double Whammy. Like a blue slushy on a hot day, Easy Listening is a sweet respite. Like the Blue Angels touching down on the Las Vegas Strip, Easy Listening is impossible to ignore. And like a janitor mopping up beer on the floor of the Hollywood Palladium in 1972, hours after the Rolling Stones have finished “Ventilator Blues” and climbed onto the bus, Easy Listening knows the glory and cost of escapism, abandon, and the soul of rock ‘n’ roll. Philadelphia’s 2nd Grade (Peter Gill, Catherine Dwyer, Jon Samuels, David Settle, and Fran Lyons) is a band both obsessed with and worthy of rock stardom, and Easy Listening proves their status as virtuosos of the power pop renaissance.
Sonically and lyrically, Easy Listening pays tribute to a guitar lineage linking the Stones to the Flamin’ Groovies, to Redd Kross and Guided By Voices. With its spiraling hooks and handclapped quarter note beat, lead single “Strung Out On You” sounds like an alternate reality post-Radio City Big Star cut. In 2nd Grade’s world, music history is a prism, not a linear progression. Famous teens transcend time on the outro to “Teenage Overpopulation,” a shouted cacophony of names including Tommy Stinson, Lizzie McGuire, and Joan of Arc. The line between the love of an audience and that of a romantic partner is blurred on songs like “Hands Down” and “Me & My Blue Angels.” Across the album, hi-fi and lo-fi styles splice together; playful references and surreal hints of impossibility build a complex, believable world atop a foundation of simple and sticky melodies that resonate on very first listen.
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