I’m feelin’ some 80′s vibes and I’m likin’ it. Unpopular opinion? Maybe. But Chicago’s indie pop-rock band Pet Lions work it to their advantage. This quartet already has the Soft Right EP backing them up and debut full-length album Houses is a solid follow-up. Production by Neil Strauch (Iron and Wine, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s) really showcases the band’s talent and adds a warm, fuzzy atmosphere to the album. It’s not clean pop music and that’s precisely why I like it. It’s noisy, yet soft and laid back, perfect for a day at the beach or a late night summer barbecue.
The album starts out slow with “The English Room” and slowly builds into the punchy second song “When I Grow Old.” “Slow Wave” chills out a little bit and “Mexican Cigarettes” begins with rippling, synthetic keyboard sounds. My personal favorite, “Sleeping,” picks up the pace again and gets toes tapping with lots of “bah bah bah’s” sure to get stuck in your head. The melody is infectious and I find myself humming it hours later. The second half of the album is chock full of bubbly and tinkling synth sounds: “Comeback” showcases the 80′s vibe I’m digging, but still keeps it fresh and relevant. “To The Coast” reminds me of Beach House and what a great band to be reminded of. Happy and feel-good, Pet Lions’ Houses is sure to be a summer staple on my iPod.
With Pet Lions’ EP Soft Right being pretty straightforward pop-rock, they took a risk by adventuring into new territory. It was an excellent risk to take though and I think it pays off. Houses, as a whole, is accessible music, but with a flair that is sure to get this band noticed. They’re streaming the album in its entirety over at their Bandcamp; check it out if you’re itching to get a glimpse.
If you’re in or around Chicago, they’re having a CD release show Saturday May 14 at Lincoln Hall. $10, 18+, and sure to be a good time.
1 The English Room
2 When I Grow Old
3 Slow Wave
4 Mexican Cigarettes
7 To The Coast
9 Southern Arms