The Stroppies pulled themselves out of the home recording hunker and into the studio for their debut album, a shambolic yet homespun record that had hooks to spare. They wrote the follow-up with a less measured approach — forged on the road and then recorded quickly at home. Though unlike their pre-album EP, this one has hallmarks of the musicianship that developed throughout Whoosh!. With a melancholy streak threaded through the songwriting they trade pianos and jangles in tandem to create a record that’s built to close down the bar in your basement any night of the week. There’s an intimacy to their songs. The hours spent curled in the backseat of the van come gushing out, but there’s a comforting melodicism that can’t help but turn these indie snippets into eagworms that tug at the brain in an uncommon fashion.
The whole EP is built on a tug-o-war between the down and out dourness of much of their contemporaries and a giddy hook cavalcade that looks to The Clean for inspiration and comes out succeeding nicely. Look to standout track “Holes in Everything” and its easy to see how the band has picked up the same seasick sway that their predecessors hooked into and they seem comfortable in the buoyant bobble through pop’s unsteady waters. The band’s been building steam for some time, and last year’s full-length solidified them on the watchlist for good, but Look Alive! proves that the album was no fluke. This is a nice hinge piece, a transition that’s refined and rambunctious, bittersweet and blustery. Aussie fans get in on this now, it feels like they’ll only soar from here on out.
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