Maybe in a broad musical context, I Was Totally Destroying It isn't breaking any new ground with their sophomore release, Horror Vacui, but when you consider where they were in 2007, the band has come a long way.
The hooks come early and often, the tunes are hummable and, Horror Vacui begs to be cranked up with the windows rolled down. The themes don't differ much from the standard lost love fare, but they are sung with such commitment that I believe most of the band have actually felt these emotions and not just assumed what a break up was like.
Those who stick around for the last third of the album are greatly rewarded. "Come Out, Come Out" is a flat out great song. The band trades in its power chords for a percussive, driving rhythm and a horn section reminiscent of Spoon's "The Underdog." It opens defiantly with Rachel Hirsh singing, "I want to be young/ to be a wreck and wrecked upon/ I want to get out/ and be a ship without the anchor."
Two tracks later comes the lovely "Turn My Grave," a slow duet with a bright and comforting acoustic guitar and glockenspiel foundation. The comfort doesn't last long as threatening, dark tones creep in on the singer's vocals, bringing the song to a wonderfully unsettling close.
IWTDI is a pop band through and through, but their Horror Vacui varies the sound enough to keep the record well-rounded and to even draw in some new fans.
Horror Vacui releases on Oct. 13 via Greyday Records. The band will play a CD release show at Cat's Cradle on Saturday, Oct. 10 with Lonnie Walker, Des Ark, Rat Jackson, Lake Inferior, and magician Mike Casey. Tickets are $7 adv/$12 day of show and everyone gets a free copy of Horror Vacui.