Sometimes it’s nice not to have to think too hard about music.
Most of the major indie bands right now seem determined to make music that the hipster-blogger crowd will shower with adjectives such as “layered” or “complex” between sips of Starbucks (thanks a lot, Radiohead).
Literature, with its debut album, “Arab Spring,” doesn’t. The first — and one of the few — words to come to mind is simply “fun.”
The Austin-based quartet will stop in Carbondale Friday for a show at Skihaus. If its album is any indication, there should be more than enough guitar fuzz, poppy hooks and good times to go around.
The EP-length LP, which dropped Tuesday, clocks in at something under 30 minutes proving that oftentimes in rock ‘n’ roll, less is more. The 11 songs (counting a throw-away novelty cut) go by in a blur.
But it’s not exactly a breathless effort. These aren’t the micro-song outbursts of early Wire or the short but perfectly crafted gems of early Strokes.
They’re somewhere between the two, certainly leaning toward the latter with their emphasis on melody, but lacking the subtlety of Julian Casablancas’s popcraft.
But maybe there’s a kind of brilliance in not being too brilliant.
“Arab Spring” demands essentially nothing of the listener, which is fine every once in a while.
After all, I don’t always want to have to pay attention to Thom Yorke’s self-consciously brainy beats or convince myself that the Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth can indeed sing.
It’s just such hard work.
And lest this come off as a paean to brainless music, just know that what excites me, anyway, about this music is that it’s proof that there are still some good bands out there not trying to prove anything.
The opening track, “14 Seconds,” sets the upbeat tone, albeit with a lower tempo than is the norm for the rest of the album. It’s all jingle-jangle guitars and melodies that might be described as pleasurable.
From there the album picks up in speed but tonally stays put.
The jaunty guitars of “Push Up Bra” seem destined to get at least a few drunk girls at an indie house show or two dancing. Like everything else on the album, it’s straight-ahead poppy garage rock, but it gets pumped up in the chorus with a horn section.
The highlight of the album may be “Grifted,” carried by its anthemic guitars.
Every song sports at least one great melody, be it vocal or guitar.
Sure, it’s all the same hooks, the same chords, the same low-mixed vocals we’ve heard a thousand times before. What’s great about Literature is not that it makes it all sound fresh again, but that it makes it fine not to care.
At the end of the day, there’s really only so much to say about the album, which by no means discredits it.
This is basically the perfect time for the album to come out. So pop a copy into your car, roll down the windows and enjoy; there’s plenty of rock like this out there if you want it, but it’s only spring once a year.