Led by gifted singer / songwriters Alex Craig and Ian Drennan, Big Troubles are that rare beast: a band with two distinctive musical voices that smoothly mesh to create one integrated personality. Their first album Worry (2010) and its attendant singles were excellent fuzz-pop records in their own right, but to make their new LP, the band brought in the legendary Mitch Easter, whose résumé includes stone-cold classics from the likes of REM, Pavement and his own Let's Active. With Easter's expert engineering help, Romantic Comedy is a masterpiece of modern pop; a perfect balance of grit and polish, gorgeous guitar sounds and angelic vocals, underpinned by a set of superb songs. The album kicks off with "She Smiles for Pictures," a brilliant slice of jangle-pop marked by an ear-tugging guitar lead and gorgeous choirboy vocals. "Misery" is a perfect two-and-a-half minutes of teen angst, fired by a huge bassline and echoed, chorused riffs that are as much '90s Brit Pop as they are '00s indie rock. First single "Sad Girls" is a lovely slice of updated power-pop based on a catchy stop-start verse that gives way to an indelible, spiraling chorus; this tune is as big and bright as they come. "You'll Be Laughing" gears down for a nuanced meditation on suburban ennui, showing that this band has more up its collective sleeve than just kicking out pop anthems. And so the record continues, through sure-fire entries into the noise-pop canon like the Boo Radleys-esque "Minor Keys," the lovely rush of "Softer Than Science" and the glam-tinged feedback-fest that is "Time Bomb." Big Troubles have that very rare combination of taste, skill and talent, and aided by Mr. Easter's recording acumen, they've created a virtually perfect modern pop album—one that tips its hat to choice bits of pop past and present, while at the same time delivering something totally fresh.
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