When a small-scale indie band treads just beneath the surface for nearly a decade in today’s oversaturated music market without fully breaking through the aqueous glass ceiling, they tend to cut their losses and return to traditional day jobs. Since they formed their first band at Louisiana State back in 2003, Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer (both on vocals and guitars) have released two albums and an EP on Park the Van (Dr. Dog, The Spinto Band), but instead of heading off to the cubicle life, they’ve forged ahead and now return with their best album to date on new label Polyvinyl under their Generationals moniker.
While this underrated duo’s past entries into its discography conjure breezy guitars and killer pop hooks, Heza subdues itself, managing to remain just as catchy while weaving refreshing soft percussion and engaging instrumental and vocal textures throughout the album’s 10 tracks. Single and album opener “Spinoza”, with its Cure-esque guitar, and the addictive handclaps of “Put a Light On”, survive as two prime examples of the band mellowing out the old and marrying it to the flair of the new. Songs like “Extra Free Year” and “I Never Know” boast impeccable production, with the fuzzed-out guitar that comes at the latter’s end hollowing out a new speaker. Or headphone. Or ear.
With this collection of simple, endlessly enjoyable indie pop, Heza and Generationals make the statement against giving up and remaining stagnant. Instead, with tracks appearing in the films My Idiot Brother and Going the Distance, and pop culture lightning rod GIRLS, Generationals successfully evolve with the tastes of the times.
Essential Tracks: “Put a Light On”, “I Never Know”