Title Tracks - It Was Easy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Title Tracks

It Was Easy (2010)

Ernest Jenning

Last year, John Davis (former drummer of defuct post-hardcore maestros Q and Not U) released his Every Little Bit Hurts single under the name Title Tracks, a precursor to his full-length debut, It Was Easy. The title track (...) reminded me a bit of the same cluster of influences that you see in Ted Leo songs--no surprise they would eventually tour together. It Was Easy continues the same pattern of relatively classic-sounding pop tunes while sometimes failing to live up to its potential.

As hinted above, not exactly all the songs are new. Firstly, the aforementioned "Every Little Bit Hurts" begins the album on a high note with a booty-shakin', tambourine-hittin' chorus. While it definitely deserves a place in the track listing, the final original on the album is the single's B-side "Found Out." I wasn't totally impressed the first time I heard it, and I feel that he could have whipped up an even catchier number instead. Secondly, Davis takes on two covers: Springsteen's "Tougher Than the Rest" and the Byrds "She Don't Care About Time." Camera Obscura's Tracyanne Campbell assists on some touching harmonies on the even quieter rendition of "Tougher than the Rest." Frankly, as much justice that is done, both covers don't do much for me. I would much rather hear an original in their place.

Because his originals are era-transcending (I hear a lot of '60s and '70s in the harmonies) and infectous as hell. "Steady Love" is an upbeat, jangly power-pop song that reminds me of a faster Monkees. The early Elvis Costello influence on "Piles of Paper" and "It Was Easy" is pretty obvious and I'm definitely a sucker for that, and you should be too. Even the falsetto of "At Fifteen" never feels played out; there isn't a dud to be found in the bunch of newer songs.

But what seperates Title Tracks from someone like Ted Leo is simply a matter of freshness. It Was Easy spins like a tribute album more than anything else. That isn't necessarily a bad thing (see: Billy Joel's An Innocent Man), because this just might be the catchiest thing you hear all year.