When New Jersey quartet Big Troubles released their debut album Worry on the ultra-hip Olde English Spelling Bee label (home to Julian Lynch, Pigeons, Forest Swords and Autre Ne Veut) last year, it was obvious to most that under the layers of distortion and tape hiss was a melodic pop heart beating ten to the dozen, but peeling away all the fuzz was a pretty gargantuan task. For follow-up Romantic Comedy, the band have done the hard work for you, bringing in legendary producer Mitch Easter (REM, Pavement) to clean up their sound, and whilst the end result may sound for the most part like a different band entirely, it’s doubtful many people will be complaining. Romantic Comedy is indie rock done the way it should be: ten tracks of jangling guitars, winsome vocals and lyrics about unattainable girls and doomed relationships that – like the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s excellent Belong – collects the best elements of ‘90s college rock and Britpop (Teenage Fanclub, Ride, Smashing Pumpkins, Elliot Smith and even forgotten psych-poppers the Boo Radleys) and rolls them up into a perfectly formed package that is very much of the now. As the likes of Yuck and Male Bonding have proved recently, balancing homage and originality is a tricky feat, but with the bittersweet sugar rushes that make up this wonderful album, Big Troubles make it look easy.
Listen: “Sad Girls” http://soundcloud.com/slumberland-records/big-troubles-sad-girls
Romantic Comedy is out now on Slumberland Records