Bigger Lovers – How I Learned To Stop Worrying: Tenth Anniversary Reissue + Little Giant Maxi-Single EP

January 01, 1970

 (Miles Above)

 

www.thebiggerlovers.com

 

The debut album from Philadelphia’s the Bigger Lovers has a
tortured history. Recorded in 1999, it was originally slated for Mood Food, the
North Carolina label that released Whiskeytown’s first album. But when Mood
Food folded before the album came out, Mississippi’s Black Dog, the label of
Blue Mountain and the first Marah album, picked it up. And then Black Dog went
belly up, too. How I Learned to Stop
Worrying
got some good press, but distribution-wise, it was dead on
arrival.

 

The Lovers did two albums for Yep Roc before disbanding in
2005, but the band is releasing a tenth-anniversary edition of Worrying, remastered with a pair of
bonus tracks, as well as a separate EP of their final sessions. All are
excellent.

 

How I Learned To Stop
Worrying
has all the hallmarks of a classic power pop album: zippy songs
dense with guitars and bursting with hooks and harmonies; a few worthy ballads;
witty songcraft that hits lots of sweet spots without ever being predictable.
You can trace a throughline from Jeff Lynne-era the Move and Alex Chilton’s Big
Star through Robyn Hitchcock’s Soft Boys and Peter Perrett’s Only Ones to
contemporaries like Velvet Crush or Teenage Fanclub.

 

In the wrong hands, those power pop conventions can seem too
formal, too precise, too glossy. The Lovers had a scruffy energy, an unbridled
enthusiasm, and a surprising breadth that made them more than simple devotees.
With the songwriting split between Bret Tobias and Scott Jefferson, who
complement one another seamlessly, Worrying is full of great tracks, from bright, rich rockers such as “Threadbare,” “Catch
and Release” and “Forever Is Not So Long” to hooky ballads such as the
piano-driven “Summer (of Our First Hello)” and the pedal-steel kissed “Steady
on Threes.” There hasn’t been a perfect power pop album in a long time. It’s
nice to have this forgotten classic back for rediscovery.

 

The EP includes recently completed songs the band recorded
with Tony Goddess of Papas Fritas shortly before disbanding. “Little Giant” is
surprising for its slinky, almost disco beat, and its effortless melody is
prime Bigger Lovers, as is the acerbic “I’m Not The Sort.” Novices should start
with the album, but Lovers lovers need the EP, too.

 

At a reunion show to celebrate these releases, the band
memorialized Alex Chilton with a cover of “Hey Little Child.” Tobias said that
Chilton invented “Failure Rock, a career template we followed to a T.” But
“failure” in the Bigger Lovers’ case, as in Chilton’s, applies only to career
success, not to artistic.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Threadbare,”
“Summer (Of Our First Hello)” STEVE KLINGE

 

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