The debut from Nashville’s Styrofoam Winos has been longtime coming, with the band forming in 2016 sharing local stages along the way with Josephine Foster, Bill Direen, and Simon Joyner among others. While the band roots in a classic core of indie that threads through the Matador/Homestead axis from the ‘90s and on out through Kiwi clutches that bump against The Chills and The Bats. Yet the band never lets their love of the past overwhelm, boiling it all down into a pop-flecked simple syrup that informs their sound with just the right dose of nostalgia. With a strong core of players, the members toss songwriting and vocal duties back and forth, working from heartsick croon to resigned sighs with toes into a hint of wobble-pop. The overview of their eponymous LP is as varied as the splashed assemblage on the cover.
When the band lets their tender underbelly show, the tempos tame and the sweater weather seams show through behind their usually sunny veneer. Especially with Lou Turner at the helm, the songs pick up just a touch of their native Nashville twang and an unshakeable cool that’s been scarce since those early Courtney Barnett cuts. The obvious allusion seems to be to Yo La Tengo, which feels on the nose, but I’m damned if I can shake the comparison fully. The trio share the Matador greats’ aesthetic makeup and general triumvirate of songwriting strength. Odds are if you’ve been an YLT fan, this will certainly hit a few familiar notes. Another stunner in the Sophomore Lounge roster. The label has proven nothing if not the barometer of indie that’s been simmering under the surface and this one should have a few higher tier labels looking to fill out their roster.
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