Headights are just too damn polite.
At times on their sophomore album, Some Racing, Some Stopping, the Champaign, Illinois, trio doesn’t merely sound content to hug the middle of the road. They seem positively overjoyed to embrace the humdrum.
These songs are rainy-day confections from a young band eager to include as many people as possible under its broad indie-pop umbrella without offending anyone. From the boy-girl interplay between vocalists Tristan Wraight and Erin Fein to the precious instrumentation and lyrics (who the hell cries at fireworks?), Headlights have clearly done their homework on the sprawling family of bands spawned by Belle and Sebastian.
That expertise pays off during the record’s juicy core: “On April 2” rushes by in a giddy blur, “School Boys” takes a hypnotic detour along the junior high bus line, and the title track provides a reflective, stripped-bare moment. But without any snarl or knack for the unexpected, the album never rewards anything beyond casual listening.
Unless they want to get tossed onto the growing scrap heap of pleasantly forgettable twee groups, Headlights are going to have to build up the gumption to start stepping on people’s toes.
"Cherry Tulips" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ9p5_YSGt8