Headlights : Some Racing, Some Stopping

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/headlightssomeracing.jpg" alt=" " />Headlights shine on their sophomore full-length, <em>Some Racing, Some Stopping</em>....
7.2 Polyvinyl

 Headlights shine on their sophomore full-length, Some Racing, Some Stopping. The Champaign, Illinois three-piece has been delivering pretty indie-pop since 2004’s The Enemies EP.  While they don’t exactly reinvent themselves, the band stays strong, and special, on their latest.

Some Racing opens with the stripped, quiet, choral procession, “Get Your Head Around It”; very pretty, it does play a bit twee.  The record only really gets racing with the following single, “Cherry Tulips”, a flowing, bright, catchy alt-country strum.  This is also where keyboardist Erin Fein takes over lead vocal duties from guitarist Tristan Wraight; in general, Headlights do better when her more dulcimer throat is at the fore.  “Tulips” is paired back-to-back with another alt-country strum, the driving road of “Market Girl” (which is reminiscent of another indie-western male-female vocals duo, The Rosebuds’ “Back To Boston”, though it does get expansive at the end).

The “Cherry”/“Market” combo is probably the highpoint of Some Racing, as Headlights go from there to a simpler, sweeter sound.  “On April 2” plays like some Swedish indie-pop, but the title track goes too cute and small.  Between the two is the more orchestral “School Boys”, but even that is relatively restrained.  There is some more energy nearer the end, with “Catch Them All” dropping an upbeat pop-garage-drive (though still with an undercurrent of darkness), but the tempo slows up for the laid-back “Towers”.  Headlights hit another month on finisher “January”, some quiet, but fuzzy, alt-folk.

Headlights might come off as a bit too simple and twee, but there’s a strong base in the sound.  What’s more, it has a pretty, enjoyable effect that can’t be denied.

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