WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2011|
Posted by: Elana Ehrenberg
On first listen to the debut album of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. titled It's a Corporate World, it appears to have the makings of every good indie pop album: whistles, reverb, claps, melodic woahs and nah-nah-nahs, and that little hint of electronic bells and bloops. You can hear a number of influences on the Detroit duo of Daniel Zott and Josh Epstein, everything ranging from The Beach Boys, who they've covered on their Horse Power EP, to just about any other lo-fi indie pop group making music right now. The two originally began making music together because they were both interested in music production and that's definitely something they do well. Everything about the album is neat and sonically pleasant with hardly a moment of silence anywhere. However, there wasn't much in that first listen that set them apart from many other bands, except for their name (and the fact that they dress in NASCAR regalia for their live shows).
That being said, the next morning as I was sitting on the train, I started to sing a little snippet of a song to myself without even realizing at first that it was none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr's "Nothing But Our Love". On the walk to my apartment I found myself humming the rising and falling melody of "If It Wasn't You". If there's one thing these guys have the hang of it's the art of being catchy. I decided I needed to give this album a second, and then third listen, and then...
Sure enough, It's a Corporate World is ripe with catchy hooks. The album flows into its various incarnations of pop reflecting the eclectic influences of the band, with never a stale moment (there's even a recall to the beginning melodic bell line of "Morning Thoughts" halfway through the album in "Husbands"). One of the catchiest, and definitely creepiest, songs is the darker stalker anthem "When I Open My Eyes" with its paranoid chanting lines and heavy piano backbeat. The soulful "Almost Lost Detroit" is a great dance number with grinding guitar riffs and repetitive chorus. While it's clear that the band is still discovering their voice, they're definitely using it well for the time being, and I look forward to hearing more from this band in the future. All in all, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. claims: "What I have/What I have/ is nothing that you want", we beg to differ.