Literature - Chorus (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Chorus (2014)

Slumberland Records

Everything about Literature is bigger on LP #2: Bigger label, bigger hooks, bigger production. They named the album Chorus for a reason. While the band’s songs still feel like a power-pop time warp at times, it’s hard to deny such peppy, poppy tracks.

Plus, at least they have good taste. Arab Spring stole some tricks from the Buzzcocks (sometimes too brazenly), but with Chorus, Literature is more suggestive than literal with their influences. The Jam and the Bongos come to mind, all nervous energy and cascading chords, and maybe Vampire Weekend as well. Being a twee band, Literature is certainly in good company on SLR.

Literature’s biggest advancement comes in production. This is a confident-sounding record. It’s also a focused one. The tracks nearly crash into each other, with barely a second of breathing room between them. Some bands throw in too much filler on their sophomore album, but Literature is almost ruthless in their pacing.

It must be really cool to be Seth Whaland right now, because his bass sounds so dang cool here. Kevin Adickes and Nathaniel Cardaci’s guitars paint the boldest colors and drummer Chris Shackerman throws in bits of rim clicks and other percussive tricks to distinguish the songs, but Whaland’s low end adds so much oomph, especially on “The English Softhearts.”

“Tie Dye (Your Life)” originally debuted as a scrappy single last year, but here it’s given a lush makeover. It fits in with the record’s first, frenetic half. SLR may have made Chorus available on CD, but it’s so obviously sequenced for vinyl. Side one packs in a bunch of hits bam-bam-bam. “Chime Hours,” the first track of side two, offers a spaced-out reprieve before the title track crashes in. While the second half has plenty to recommend it, the rapid pacing of side one is hard to match.

Chorus bears some affectations (why the British accent, Yanks?). It’s hard to hear as a completely original thought. But it also marks a progression in the band’s songwriting. Arab Spring was good; Chorus is better.