Literature: Arab Spring

Literature Arab SpringLiterature: Arab Spring
Arab Spring is one of those albums that makes it emphatically clear that its makers adore and consume a great deal of music. Literature’s debut album gives a nod to its forebears in the jangle pop genre it faithfully pays homage to over its eleven tracks. While there’s nothing here that is incredibly new or revolutionary, Literature’s almost impeccable execution and skill in composing pop songs is hard to deny.
The album opens with “14 Seconds” a light jaunt of a song that sets the tone for an album that will be rife with well-done love songs with almost a shoegaze vibe to them. On the next track, “Lily,” it is almost jarring how solid the production really is. The guitar in the song has a hint of early-Strokes sound to it ‒ which is high praise, even as maligned as the Strokes have sadly become. Before Literature gets too comfortable in its cozy genre, they throw in some horns on “Push-Up Bra.” Along with being the vocal highlight of the album–reaching a point where Kevin Adicke’s voice conveys both force and personality, the track’s horns, which by no means “make” the song, still exemplify the surprising maturity and nuance of this record. On “Criminal Kids” the evidence of Literature’s reluctance to settle for lazy simplicity is on full display. While it would be easy to drift into the trite garage band sound that they could casually settle into, they elevate the song with deft instrumentation and some impressive songwriting. It’s sincere, youthful stuff. What’s more charming than youthful but sincere indie songwriting? (Probably many things, but still.) Through the remainder of the album, “Arab Spring” and “Esquire Esquire” stand above the rest. Each has just a forceful conglomeration of hooks and choruses that loosen the album up and raise its replayability.
The album’s brief, consisting of 11 songs, none of which reach three minutes in length. This structure generally works in their favor, creating almost a mosaic of meditations on a similar style, yet there are a few points where the brevity robs some songs of their impact. “Rooney” has some stellar guitar work, but packs almost nothing else in its 115 seconds. And this album’s array of love songs dabbling in various influences is a bit reminiscent of an indie rock band that has garnered massive acclaim over the past couple years, Girls. While Literature’s album is more focused and faithful to its stylistic leanings, some of the songs, like “Grifted,” for example, call to mind some songs on Girls’s stellar debut album. Literature joins Girls as a group that isn’t forging some new, distinct genre, but is still fashioning good music, however derivative it make sometimes seem. There aren’t many risks taken on this record, but there is something to be said for a young band knowing when to reign itself in and avoid self-indulgence. On “I Am Right Here,” Literature leaves us with an up-tempo pop song that once again seems so natural. Its a confident sound, both young and fun, and it leaves you itching for more.
Rating: 8.4/10
MP3: Literature “Arab Spring”
Buy: Bandcamp