Generationals – Actor Caster

Rating: ★★★½ ·

On their 2009 album, Con Law, the duo known as Generationals sort of left their mark by being all over the place, touching on various genres of modern indie pop.  For their second album, Actor Caster, the band sounds a lot more confident, clearly having spent loads of time developing their sound into a cohesive gem of an album, ready for mass consumption by anyone and everyone.

Kicking off the party with “Ten Twenty Ten” seems like as good an option as any for the band, as it definitely has this rootsy pop-rock guitar bubbling through it, ready to boil over with melodic pop momentum.  Here the band sounds really steady, and instead of hitting you over the head with hooks like on their last release, those moments slowly build beneath the songs on Actor Caster, making it more infectious the more you listen.  Similarly, “I Promise” uses this jangling sunny guitar line to reach up and grab you and carry you swinging arm in arm out the door. A slight piano track in the background adds to the jangling, giving more texture to the band’s sound, again making lasting impressions.

Of course, the band will definitely find themselves compared to other groups with some of the tracks present here, namely comparisons to The Drums.  But, unlike the latter, Generationals have something stronger in their summery swagger, such as “You Say It Too.”  It’s got that clever little surf-rock guitar hook here, and vocals upon vocals, some oohs to boot, but it’s got more substance than other like-minded groups.  In “Goose & Gander” you’ll find yourself sitting at your desk, or wherever  you are, tapping your feet.  You can try all you want to avoid it, but once a hook inserts itself in your subconscious, there’s nothing that will get you away from happily swaying moments from left to right.

You’ll still be able to find bits of pop experimentation on this record, so don’t go thinking it’s all same-old same-old.  “Tell Me Now” is probably one of the more distinctive songs on this entire collection, and it’s the vocals that seem to take hold of you here, as opposed to the overall hooks of guitars and melodies.  That’s probably one of the greatest things about listening to Generationals, they just have an arsenal of hooks and pop wonderment that will instantly win you over; there’s no fighting it folks, so you may as well just let yourself get absorbed in it all.  Whether you want a jangling guitar, or a piano-laden track or even a sing-a-long chorus, you’re going to find it here.

In the end, their ability to harness that exuberant energy into a more confined sound is going to be greatly beneficial. Actor Caster is just chock full of hit after hit, begging you to open up the windows and share these joyous listening moments with anyone, and everyone, who is willing to open their ears. At the end of the day, Generationals have constructed yet another record full of tracks that you can, and should, take anywhere, as they’ll be around for some time, destined to bring you every bit of sun your heart desires.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/09_Greenleaf.mp3]

Download: Generationals – Greenleaf [MP3]

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