“I think it has just become so trendy to make a lo-fi record that the idea to make another one just seemed silly. The world doesn’t need another one right now,” Alex Craig, one of Big Troubles’ two choirboy-meets-Billy Corgan frontmen, told The Agit Reader in a recent interview. They’re smart kids, careful not to indulge in too much of the reckless fun of last year’s debut, Worry; even smarter to reel in Mitch Easter—R.E.M.’s producer during the early 80s, Pavement’s producer on Brighten the Corners—to help them achieve something more sparkling, and revealing, during their time in the studio.
The result is a jangle-pop platter subdued by the sort of self-medicated jadedness that helps teenage lust go down easier, perfectly contrived for a sophomore album called Romantic Comedy. (Insert John Hughes reference here.) In one fell swoop, songs mix the wistfulness of youth and the weariness of a band freshly removed from it. The hooks stack up nicely and sound like they should soundtrack a Brooklyn date night, if only the lyrics weren’t coming from songs titled “Misery” and “Sad Girls.”
But while Wild Nothing has their jacked-up synths, Real Estate has their stylized tones, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have their guileless enthusiasm, and Yuck has their across-the-board revivalism, Romantic Comedy lacks a stamp that distinctly makes it Big Troubles’ own. Though, hearing Craig coo, “Love is in the air, but I don’t care…and if I hear the word again, I think I’ll drill a hole in my head” is quite a twisted pleasure. Maybe cynicism masked by indulgent dreaminess is Big Troubles’ defining mark? I’m ok with that.