More than a year ago, pop quartet Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin was unknown outside of their native Springfield, Missouri. But music bloggers, the 21st-century tastemakers who love harmonious indie pop and ridiculously named bands (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), made SSLYBY instant indie and Internet stars. Now we have Broom, the album that got the band noticed in the first place, getting a proper rerelease on Polyvinyl.
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Although I was skeptical to believe all the hype, Broom is a pleasant listen that keeps getting better with repetition. (It almost has to be repeated, since its ten tracks clock in at less than 30 minutes.) The band is constantly compared to The Shins because, one, their music, especially the first two tracks, "Pangea" and "I Am Warm & Powerful," sound like well-mixed outtakes from Oh, Inverted World; and two, the young pipes of lead vocalist/guitarist John Cardwell are reminiscent of James Mercer's. The single "Oregon Girl" sounds rough but poignant and is wrapped around a love in the distance, like an early Wilco song, while "House Fire" and "Anna Lee" are mellow, melodic and emotional affairs that'll have you swaying. Though there's no shortage of good material to sing, hum or clap along to on Broom, it's obvious that this band is still very young (all barely the drinking age), and their music is still not fully developed. Hopefully, this album is just the introduction to a band we'll be hearing lots more about in the next couple years as they become even better songwriters.