Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Idle Times: Idle Times

When Guided By Voices and Pavement ran classic rock through a noisy, fucked-up filter in the early ’90s, it seemed like a statement against artists emulating their heroes too slavishly. Who could’ve guessed that lo-fi would itself become a form of classic rock feverishly studied by young pups like Seattle trio Idle Times? The clipped guitars, cardboard-box drums, and caterwauling vocals of “There You Go” sound less like happy accidents than like carefully conceived aesthetic choices inspired by countless prime-era four-track recordings. At least Idle Times can boast more than just a tinny, treble-heavy mix—the melodies hit almost as hard as the screeching feedback, particularly on “Prison Mind,” a minute-long masterpiece of Merseybeat harmonies and twangy jangle covered in sandpaper sonics. Nearly as good are the slamming album-opener “Working On Something” and the power-pop nugget “Every Time I Talk,” which suggest that Idle Times might be capable of relatively straightforward, Cheap Trick-style rocking if it ever leaves the bedroom. Inevitably, Idle Times sometimes gets in its own way, tripping up the T. Rex stomp of “Gin & Death” by kicking out the bottom end and ripping it to shreds. But as Idle Times obviously learned from its heroes, you can’t make a lo-fi record without breaking a few eardrums.

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