10 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This New York–based baroque pop trio goes for a strange mix on its debut, creating a sound that’s influenced by ELO’s penchant for grand orchestrations and ELP’s progressive leanings in song structure. The band made the smart choices to employ the production skills of Redd Kross' Steve McDonald and use the arranging and keyboard talents of Jellyfish's Roger Joseph Manning Jr. “Be Calm” starts with the animated pomposity of Queen (check out Nate Ruess’ dynamic vocal range) and the complex song-charting of early Yes recordings. “Benson Hedges” follows, with soaring gospel harmonies that hover over a patchwork of vintage keyboards before the tune unfolds to reveal a guitar-pop epic as catchy as it is complex. But as involved and intricate as these songs are, Ruess and company neither succumb to proggy pretensions nor fall into the trap of making music for musicians. “The Gambler” balances British Invasion–era balladry with an earnest idealism of aging.

EDITORS’ NOTES

This New York–based baroque pop trio goes for a strange mix on its debut, creating a sound that’s influenced by ELO’s penchant for grand orchestrations and ELP’s progressive leanings in song structure. The band made the smart choices to employ the production skills of Redd Kross' Steve McDonald and use the arranging and keyboard talents of Jellyfish's Roger Joseph Manning Jr. “Be Calm” starts with the animated pomposity of Queen (check out Nate Ruess’ dynamic vocal range) and the complex song-charting of early Yes recordings. “Benson Hedges” follows, with soaring gospel harmonies that hover over a patchwork of vintage keyboards before the tune unfolds to reveal a guitar-pop epic as catchy as it is complex. But as involved and intricate as these songs are, Ruess and company neither succumb to proggy pretensions nor fall into the trap of making music for musicians. “The Gambler” balances British Invasion–era balladry with an earnest idealism of aging.

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