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Good Old War

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Album Review

Indie rock trio Good Old War traded emo-pop for folksy jangle pop on their 2008 debut, and if the Pennsylvania outfit’s eponymous sophomore outing is any indication, they’re a lot happier in the paisley underground than they were brooding about with Days of the New. The album opens with an effervescent mini-instrumental that comes off like Grizzly Bear trying less to impress, a compliment that applies to the majority of the 14 tracks that follow. Good Old War is at its best when applying '60s-infused pop melodies to a 21st century indie rock template, and on standout tracks like “Here Are the Problems” and “That’s Some Dream,” the band manages to sound like the Flaming Lips fronted by Paul Simon. When the group decides to let a little darkness back in, like on the bluesy “Get Some” and the Nick Drake-esque “I Should Go,” the melancholy feels communal rather than self-absorbed, and the music stays accessible without ever becoming cloying, which is a hard feat to pull off, especially when your record includes a track called “Woody's Hood Boogie Woogie.”


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A group formed in the off time (that is to say, hiatus) of the band Days Away, Good Old War -- named with a selection of "parts" of its members' names -- was launched by Days Away's Keith Goodwin and Tim Arnold. Joined by Daniel Schwartz of Unlikely Cowboy, Good Old War began recording its debut album in Los Angeles in 2008, with hopes of a release on Sargent House later in the fall. That same year, Good Old War acted as the backing band (both live and in the studio) for Anthony Greene's album Avalon,...
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