The School's second album, Reading Too Much into Things Like Everything, suffers a tiny bit in comparison to their debut, Loveless Unbeliever. That record was made up mostly of singles and tracks drawn from the band's first few years together, and unsurprisingly plays like a hits collection. Also, nothing on Reading has the same dramatic punch of the band's best song "Let It Slip." That song is so perfect; criticizing them for not writing anything as good is like slagging someone for only scaling Mt. Everest once. Reading is more like a compilation of future hits, which is almost as good. Maybe even better once the record sinks in deeper after repeated plays (preferably on an AM radio on the way to the beach) and the songs begin to feel like your best friends. The bandmembers haven't changed much about their proven formula as they still blend girl group, indie pop, Northern soul, and '50s pop into a happily bubblegummy mix of melody and lightly strummed heartstrings. Fronted by Liz Hunt's achingly sweet and sincere vocals, songs like "Stop That Boy" or "Someday My Heart Will Beat Again" could have fit perfectly on Loveless. The impossibly bouncy "Never Thought I'd See the Day" might even be as good as anything there, bar "Let It Slip." What they have done here is make some subtle tweaks and additions that help keep things fresh and inspired. To that end they've increased the sunniness factor to a near-blinding degree, adding wide-screen vocal harmonies, Beach Boys-inspired arrangements, and a degree of attention to detail that gives the songs an extra richness. They also throw in a few new influences, like the surf guitar in "Why Do You Have to Break My Heart Again?," some garage rock rave-up on "That Boy Is Mine," and cinematic grandeur on the album-closing "You Make Me Hear Music (Inside My Head)." Most importantly, the album does exactly what a second album should do, building on the debut's strengths without subtracting anything that made the band good in the first place. It may not last forever, but based on their first two albums, the School could end up being one of the all-time great indie pop bands if they keep on making albums as good as Reading Too Much into Things Like Everything.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra