Nobody's Cool

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Nobody's Cool is perhaps the only album in rock history that is better known for its liner notes than for its music. Literary icon Thomas Pynchon is a Lotion fan, so he contributed a brief appreciative essay to this, their sophomore album. It is a testament to the group's talent and artistry that their songs hold up alongside Pynchon's hip, elaborate prose. Nobody's Cool retains the densely layered sound of their debut, but it's a tighter, more accessible set. For "Rock Chick," the band adds kitschy-loungey touches reminiscent of the Cardigans to a typically complex song structure, then tops it all off with an electric piano outro, proving that they have more than a few tricks left up their collective sleeve. "Precious Tiny" rides a glorious five-minute mess of a guitar solo into the post-modern sunset, with crashing drums, distant background vocals, and a plinking banjo for company. Throughout Nobody's Cool, lyrics yield meanings more readily than they do on 1994's Full Isaac. "Sandra," for instance, is narrated by a lovelorn stalker. The result is an album that is even more memorable and engaging than its predecessor, a veritable tour de force. Fans of Galaxie 500, Hüsker Dü, My Bloody Valentine, and R.E.M. can be grateful that Lotion is around to carry the torch for forward-thinking indie rock.

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