Commerce is one of those little bands who could – and did. The Johnson City, Tenn.,
quartet may call its record label Littlest Sounds but the seven songs on this
mini-album are big and bold and beautiful.
To skip through the tunes is to touch down on a number of well-known
indie-pop avatars, from Arcade Fire (the quietly effervescent, subtly anthemic
“Ivory Buttons,” with its massed choir-style chorus) and Death Cab For Cutie (the buoyantly upbeat “In
Your Bones”) to Bright Eyes (“A Slip of the Tongue” has a jaunty, strummy,
finger-snapping vibe) and even the late, great Beulah (“Questions About
California,” which in it own sunshine pop way, does conjure tingly visions of
the original Goldrush State). What
Happens Now isn’t a case of paint-within-the-Pitchfork-approved lines, however, for these young men craft
consistently engaging tunes, each bearing its own trapdoor-sprung surprises;
within the space of a single song, the listener gets taken on a series of journeys
that, all tallied, add up to an eminently satisfying experience.
Just the aforementioned “In Your Bones” – the album’s
unqualified masterpiece, and the kind of tune that should be on every
self-respecting blogger’s MP3 roster – will make you pinch yourself with
delight even if you’re only an occasional scholar of classic pop. I hear Death
Cab, but I also hear echoes of the sixties British Invasion, seventies glam,
eighties powerpop, and of course nineties alterna-rock. When those final,
grandiose power chords come crashing down, it’s the best bit of sheer sonic
catharsis I’ve gotten all year. You can feel the magic, too: all ya gotta do is
believe in it.
Tracks: “In Your Bones,” “Questions About California” FRED MILLS