I was worried when I heard that '80s jangle-pop maestro Mitch Easter was producing Big Troubles' second album. The sound he's so connected to doesn't seem compatible with the kind of excellent lo-fi shoegazer pop to be found on the band's first LP, Worry. And yes, gone is the "Guided by Voices raiding Kevin Shields's pedals" vibe of that record. They might have lost a little bit of character, but thankfully Big Troubles remain reliable writers of catchy pop songs. "Misery" and its grab bag of hooks could've been a hit on 120 Minutes and college radio in the pre-grunge era, with morose lyrics and sensitive breathy vocals to reel in the sadsack students, and excellent riffs for everybody else. "You'll Be Laughing" is the lo-fi Slumberland version of Fleetwood Mac's "Gypsy." Romantic Comedy's simple guitar melodies wrap around steady rhythms, with occasional hints of fuzz and ephemeral background noise counterpointing the tender vocals. Big Troubles are young Americans stealing what the British stole from us, in the process living up to the standards of an era they're too young to remember.
BIG TROUBLES + YOUNG PRISMS + CUFFS | T.T. the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge | October 19 @ 8:30 pm | 18+ | $10 | 617.492.0082