Regal Degal

Not Now

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For their second album, Brooklyn trio Regal Degal worked with producer Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear in order to craft their poppiest-sounding album to date. The group's earliest recordings were messy and experimental, but their brief relocation to Los Angeles, resulting in 2012's debut full-length Veritable Who's Who, helped bring out the group's hookier, more accessible side. Not Now continues to refine this, with bright, sunny guitar textures and more prominent grooves. The vocals are clear and pronounced, but are still splashed with trippy, psychedelic echo. More than ever, the group seem influenced by danceable '80s indie pop and post-punk bands such as Orange Juice, especially on the upbeat "Sit Like a Chair." While the group's sound is slicker than ever, there's an underlying sense of drama which sometimes threatens to drown out the album's positive elements, and the easygoing grooves are contrasted with lamenting lyrics, as best demonstrated by highlight "Ruining My Life." "Pyramid Bricks," which previously appeared on the group's 2013 EP of the same name, begins with light, joyous guitar textures but ends up dramatic and almost devastating over the course of its six minutes. The bassline of "Defense" is reminiscent of late-'80s Chicago house at its most downcast, and "Oppressive Living" comes close to appearing downright gloomy. The group's aggressive side surfaces on occasion, particularly during the bluesy psych-rock swagger of "Deal of a Lifetime" and multifaceted closer "Flavor," which approximates the Stooges' "Dirt" bassline during its midsection. Regal Degal manage to create some impressive tunes with creative production, but taken as a whole, the album's melancholy side is hard to shake, and it ends up being kind of a downer.

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