I Was Totally Destroying It

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For indie pop lovers who cut their teeth on Blake Babies and miss their special blend of boy-girl vocals, blustery guitars, and winsome melodies, I Was Totally Destroying It update that sound appealingly on their second full-length album. On this set of tunes inspired largely by the breakup of co-leaders Rachel Hirsh and John Booker, the band airs its dirty laundry with both convincing emotional abandon and tightly controlled melodic precision that suggests a heavy classic rock influence. None of this is to suggest that the album is a downer, though. The songs extol freedom as much as they mourn loss, and frequently burst into sparks-yielding, triumphant choruses that belie the vulnerable lyrics. "Come Out Come Out" sports a riff -- paired with a classic power pop drum pummel -- that aims squarely for the pleasure center. "A Reason To" brags a striking chorus that recalls the Police at their most rocking. Within the clearly defined aesthetic parameters lies a pleasing range of styles, too. "Turn My Grave" is a shimmering folk-rock mirage with a tart little hook. "A Cup of Tea" features a gorgeous, watery guitar intro that seems to have leapt out of the Chills' canon, and a pleading refrain that has all the makings of a "heavenly pop hit." That the quintet can turn personal misery into explosive beauty attests to strong songwriting chops, real vision, and the kind of rapport that is clearly worth preserving, even after the romance fades.

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