Household Names

The Trouble With Being Nice

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The Household Names' debut features dynamic, booming guitar pop that draws heavily on Brit-pop influences. Listening to The Trouble With Being Nice, folks may be surprised to find out that this group hails from Austin, TX, and not the U.K. The secret weapon here is songwriter/vocalist Jason Garcia, who sounds a bit like Karl Wallinger (of similarly minded revivalists World Party) and who can craft powerful melodies like nobody's business. Helping flesh out the vision is producer Lars Göransson (the Cardigans), who contributes all sorts of über-pop ephemera to the proceedings (vocal effects, keyboard nuances, etc.), and this release is packed to the gills with towering, glorious guitar tracks. Some highlights include the moody, crashing, Beatlesque "Secrecy," which opens the album, "I'm Just the Rain," which has one foot firmly entrenched in '80s new romantic pop, and "Bright Spot," whose upbeat, euphoric rock could serve as the group's calling card.

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