What happens if you remove a bit of fuzz in the production process? You get a breezy pop gem like Romantic Comedy. It’s the second record from Big Troubles, and their first from Slumberland Records. All those looking for a brighter vocal sound, but with the same general feel as the group’s first outing, will certainly be pleased.
You can definitely hear the polish in opening track, “She Smiles for Pictures,” as the guitars have sort of an angular bounce. Vocally, there’s a nice bit of soft comfort in the delivery, sort of like what you’d expect an American Teenage Fanclub to sound like. But, it’s the next track that will force you to stand on one side of the track or the other.
“Misery,” for all intents and purposes is Pains of Being Pure Heart lite. Get rid of the scuzz from the aforementioned band’s debut, and you’ve got little gem. However, I like the fact that the vocals are so clean and clear; it’s something you don’t normally associate with a PoBPaH record, so for me it wins. Yet, I can see it being derivative, but weren’t the Pains originally the same thing? Perhaps some people grow up faster. “Sad Girls” is similar here, providing a hint of soft-bit swagger, but the vocals during the chorus are what allow the band to differentiate themselves, sounding much different than the nearest comparison.
Personally, I really like the straight pop gems, such as “Softer Than Science,” which has a bit of the Lucksmiths sense of melody. There’s a pounding bit of drum work, and the guitars are definitely sharpened. But, there’s a nice bit of restraint in this number, letting the band focus on their harmonies. It’s a song that contradicts its successor, “Time Bomb,” the closest track you could call a straight ahead rocker. The noisy solo in the end definitely reminds you of those 90s guitar moments we’ve all come to treasure.
Yet, Big Troubles faces sort of a problem in the long run. Romantic Comedy, while definitely enjoyable, wears down listeners quiet quickly. You’ll likely go from really enjoying the whole record, then the magic begins to fade a bit. It’s not entirely their fault, as we’ve just been bogged down with so many like-minded records in the last few years. In order for you to be the best, you’ve got to rise above the rest, and I’m just not entirely convinced the band accomplished that feat. Still, a good listen from start to finish.
Download: Big Troubles – Misery [MP3]