One of the downsides of living that whole “faux bohemian my apt has a with rat” lifestyle is in the inability to afford heat during this chilly mid-atlantic winter. So thank you New Orleans’ Generationals for bringing some of your southern warmth via my headphones in your charming indie pop. Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer first appeared on the scene back in 2009 with the release of Con Law and they’re back (with the addition of drummer Tess Brunet) with their snazzy new EP Trust and a (free!) five track sample that features three remixes of Con Law’s When They Fight, They Fight.
The addition of Brunet proves a great choice thanks to the male/female vocal harmonizing and smart pop drumbeats that make Trust an extremely satisfying sophomore release. The standout track is the closing (and EP title) Trust, a sunny, swirling tune with plenty of cymbal crashes and quick guitar/bass fingering. The song’s main instrumental refrain recalls the sensation of riding a gentle swell to its end point. Widmer’s tenor (reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian) and just vague enough (while still accessible) lyrics make Trust a great track to put on when driving, reading, or simply staring out the window at the street below.
The opening track, Say for Certain shows Generationals downtempo sound, with its steady down beat and sparkling xylophone (which really is an underused instrument). The xylophone refrain proves to be the highlight as it creates a surprise and whimsical element to the understated track. Carrying the Torch, an ode to past love, shines a spotlight on the bass with the thumping thumbing that opens the track and provides a strong backbone throughout. The song’s lyrics are the most straightforward and best of the album. When Widmer sings “You shouldn’t write those things to me, you know you’re only going to keep me up all night, staring at the window waiting for the months to go by” it’s like he has taken a page out of every single person’s diary, eliminated the whiny aspect of it, and turned into a gold standard of pop lyrics.
The three smart remixes of When They Fight, They Fight off Generationals‘ sampler brings in some hard hitters of the indie scene (Ra Ra Riot, Richard Swift, and The Little Ones) and each reworking breathes new life into the already stellar 60′s influenced ditty. Ra Ra Riot and Richard Swift’s take adds an electro element to the song. Swift provides a bit more drawn out, epic style while Ra Ra Riot covers the dance infused side. The Little Ones‘ version pulls more from the sunshine/pop melody of the original track, focusing on the “ooh’s” harmony and bringing the lyrics more forefront with a slightly slower and subdued instrumental mixing (although the tropical twist at the end picks the track up a bit).
Generationals aren’t undergoing a major tour at the moment (hope that changes though) but they are performing a few shows in the midwest (dates below) this winter. Even if you can’t see them live, their EP proves warmth enough to stave off financial induced hypothermia.
By: Stephanie Glass
St. Louis. Missouri: Old Rock House
Chicago, Illinois: Schubas
Carbondale, Illinois: Hangar 9