Need music to accompany the dwindling days of summer? Self-proclaimed jangle pop band Literature‘s upbeat and catchy new album, Chorus, is a perfect soundtrack for these last few weeks before the new semester rolls in. With their third studio album (and their first on Slumberland Records), Literature continue to bring straightforward pop tunes that have been scarce lately in the indie pop scene.
On first listen, Chorus feels effortless, light, and not overly cheerful. With moody mod-rock melodies, bratty vocals, and song titles like “The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything,” “Dance Shoes,” and “New Jacket,” the album is reminiscent of an afternoon at a British prep school — or at least what you’d imagine one is like (think Wes Anderson’s Rushmore).
The album starts with melodic guitar and the use of joyful-sounding chatter in the background as the guitar takes off. Its tracks do not transcend their existence as a song — the case with “Court/Date,” which abruptly ends with feedback. This is either a happy accident or a deliberate reminder that the track is just a catchy tune and that the listener should be aware of its existence as such… Literature understands the power of a simple pop song. The title track “Chorus” is an acknowledgement of the construction of such a song and a breaking of the proverbial “fourth wall.”
The band has evidently been inspired by their dream pop-predecessors at Slumberland Records: at the end of “Jimmy,” waning guitars create a wall of sound fitting to their comparatively poppier-style of music. Just as the compression of sounds seems to be reaching its apex, the cascading twangs cease and the now-crisp guitar slowly fades out. The band also reverts to older techniques of recording: tracks including “Blasé” and “Dance Shoes” use an older method of manipulating a reel tape to create that familiar echoing, washy sound that is present in many ’60s era bands.
The collective piece feels like a sticky-sweet afternoon tarnished only by the knowledge that it will not last forever. Chorus feels perfect, but the limitations of its genre are present, and the album acknowledges both the shortcomings and beauty of a simple, memorable tune.