Up with the Sun

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The second album by Connecticut band Titles, and the first proper band album as such after a slightly ad-hoc debut mostly recorded as a duo between guitarist Brad Amorosino and drummer John Miller, Up with the Sun exudes a charming demi-power pop roughness, a lighter going after-echo of grunge for another decade and century. It's not the Lemonheads, say, but it's not Nirvana either, aiming for something easygoing and free-spirited rather than burdened down with shadows and frustration. Perhaps above all else it's a very summery album, in a good way, and uses the sonic signifiers of blue skies and lazy extended evenings just right. If the band isn't out to surprise anyone, moments like the killer bassline on "A Happy Life" and the twangy guitar on "No Love" help show the gentle range of the group early on. On the more dramatic tip, the flanged vocals and funereal march pace of "Fully Dressed in Bed," the album's highlight song, and the big ending of "Piano Girl" as the closing track help show it's not just a breeze, while the ragged but right feeling of "We Have No Hands" and "Bloody Nose" are other standouts.

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