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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Derby
This is the New You
Not Lame Recordings

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


May 20, 2005
If Elliott Smith were symbolized by a sad lullaby, advising you to "Go to bed and sleep it off," then Derby would be the newly-revived "rise and shine." No longer must you wait for the day to be over; there is hope and eagerness for the new day. Whether that brilliant day comes to a similar end, we will see as Derby produces more albums, but This is the New You is a vital work of Smith and Jellyfish-inspired pop songs, remarkable for the vibrant sparkle in its eyes.

While This is the New You is an album about loneliness and the trials of self-identity after college, it somehow makes that struggle seem breezy and buoyant. The album's tone won't let a tedious first job get it down (and knowing what those particular jobs are like, that's an achievement in and of itself). It's cautious, yes, and uncertain, but never broken or even bruised; there is still an innocent optimism grounding Derby's youthful view.

However, while birds may be chirping in the background, this debut never becomes cartoonish or grating; there is a genuine quality to Derby's tone that makes the effort a truly winning one. They even manage to hit the mark of "70s AM Gold" without being cloying - a feat I didn't know was even possible before stumbling onto Derby. The band's wide-eyed faith in goodness is absolutely sincere, and because of that, blissfully contagious. You can't help but feel more hopeful listening to their hushed, easy melodies.

If you're one of the types of music lovers who can only listen to Either/Or - or, at the other end of the spectrum, Of Montreal's The Gay Parade - when you're in a specific mood for it, you'll agree that there are times that while you love an album, you still reach to turn it off. Those particular releases can be too painful or too euphoric, respectively, to really hit the spot when you just want the simple pleasures that come from good old pop filling your ears. Not so with Derby. Their pop is not exhaustive; it does not leave you weary from emotion, instead content to emit a pleasant vibe.

Self-produced and unapologetically mellow, songs like "Sunk a Few" and "Tired" all but beg to ruminate in your hook-trapped consciousness for days. There are rockers - some tips of the hat to Sloan called "This Conversation" and "Get to the Feeling" - but the sweet Beatlish nothings somehow seem more indelible. Perhaps it's because Derby treats that precious, vaulted sound with affection and reverence, you can tell they spent many sunny days staring out of windows with headphones on. As such, their album is a perfect soundtrack for that activity: it tentatively, wistfully daydreams, sighing at what is beautiful just outside.

If you are looking for an album of shining pop that makes you feel good about the things you have - that radiates fortune and gratefulness without a trace of irony - you should look into This is the New You; maybe your troubles aren't so bad after all.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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