An incredibly rare and sought-after artifact has come into your possession: an antique radio receiver with a tuner (imagine that!). This is perplexing, because you were under the concrete impression that the last radio station cut transmission decades ago. This device doesn’t broadcast the latest hits, but rather the inner musings and laments of those in relationships that support as much as they destroy. You turn it on, and slowly turn the knob . . .
In order for it to hold significance, music doesn’t need to be radical or revolutionary; sometimes all it takes is creating something honest, something that illustrates the inescapable thoughts we all share at some point or another. Psychic Reader is the debut full-length from Minneapolis-based band Bad Bad Hats, and this trio of charmers have filled this record with some of the best, most relatable pop you’re likely to hear this year.
This is a group that knows how to sear their music with experimentation, rather than drench them in it. Noah Boswell and Chris Hoge, on bass and drums respectively, hold down the rhythm section with admirable consistency and provide the most ideal foundations for vocalist/guitarist Kerry Alexander to speak her truths. It’s pure jangly pop on the surface, but there’s a uniquely experimental vein running through each song.
Although each instrumental element is integral to the allure of this band, it’s Alexander’s charismatic persona that sets them apart from other indie-pop heartbreakees. She’s Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan, but more subdued and focused; she’s Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, but more lively and transparent. They’re truly a triforce of tasteful songwriting. If you’re seeking catchy, superbly-crafted pop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)