Let's Wrestle

Nursing Home

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After a fairly brilliant debut album, you might expect Let’s Wrestle to struggle a little bit on the follow-up, Nursing Home. Maybe the jokes wouldn’t be as oddball and funny, maybe the songs would be a little dull or rote, maybe the sound would be slicked-up and tired. Maybe it would sound like a less-interesting carbon copy of the charmingly goofy, surprisingly emotional, slightly lunky indie rock of In the Court of the Wrestling Let's. How about none of the above? Instead, the band has improved on the debut both in the sound and in the songs. First, they hired Steve Albini to help with the record, and his simple, powerful, and uncluttered recording style fits the group perfectly. The drums have a power and clarity they sometimes lacked on the debut, and the guitars have a very pleasing crunchy texture. It’s the Wedding Present's Seamonsters sound with none of the gloom, and it is just what the band needed. As for the songs, they are ultra catchy and Wesley Patrick Gonzalez's world-view and sense of humor are just as off-kilter and endearingly awkward and hilarious as before. A guy singing about dinner with parents in the suburbs, turning down salacious offers of drugs, dreaming of rock stars crashing his bedroom, or wanting his life to have meaning by building houses in Tuscany may not be for everyone, especially people who want their songs to be textbook explorations of love won and lost. If you buy the premise, though, you’ll find yourself wishing you could hang out with Gonzalez. He likely tells the best kind of barroom tales, and that kind of shaggy-dog casual goofiness is hard to resist both in real life and on record. Nursing Home is the best kind of second album -- it reminds you why you liked Let’s Wrestle in the first place and manages to improve on an already stellar offering. Nice work, guys!

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