Headlights

    {grate 3.5} What is it about gentle indie-pop that lowers the critical
    eyebrow and makes your ear muscles disco? Like a lullaby for adults, Some
    Racing, Some Stopping is a 30-minute musical exploration of soothing folk
    synth, powerful orchestration and the beautiful timbre of Ms. Erin Fein. The
    result is a collaboration that could moonlight as the soundtrack to “The Royal
    Tenenbaums” — that is, if the ’Baums weren’t such Negative Nancys.

    The album is sticky with love ballads and the nostalgic
    regret of passing time, but even with the tried-and-true topics up for lyrical
    discourse, Headlights manages to wrestle audio boredom by keeping it light.
    Every melody is either a hum-worthy beat or sweetly timid anthem. Songs like
    “Market Girl” exude a hipster dance quality that’s reminiscent of early Rilo
    Kiley, filled with insistent guitar strums, poodle-skirt sentimentality and
    impish devilry.

    But the collection’s dulcet slowdowns end up grabbing just
    as much of the spotlight as their extroverted counterparts. Ditties like
    “School Boys” percolate with “doo doo ahhs” and choral violins that mash up
    synthesizer sweeps. The self-titled track’s dawdling organ boil melts into a
    honeyed cloy that lingers long after the song has meandered away. “Some Racing”
    is the pound puppy that gets a home instead of put down because of its big ol’
    baleful eyes and happy lil’ heart. Even with the simplistic themes and typical
    genre blend, the track gushes with idealism and a come-hither dreaminess.

    The only downside to the endeavor is the meager helping of
    goods that you get. After all the happy-go-lucky rockin’, you realize you’ve
    only listened to enough music to barely get you through half an episode of
    “Flavor of Love 3.” And though the hard-touring band has been fine-tuning their
    songwriting in lieu of further densifying their sound, the least they could do
    is throw a little more on your plate. But quality is always better then
    quantity, so half an hour of Headlights is better then 60 minutes of a
    shriveled-up rapper trying to stick it to some hoes any day. Yadadamean?

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