Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Why someone would name their band Difficulty is beyond me, but these Chicagoans have done just that. I can maybe understand it if you're playing spazzcore or free-jazz but not indie rock because truth be told, there’s nothing difficult about listening to Difficulty. Their self titled debut is almost an absolute joy to listen to. In fact, one might perceive their given name as an attempt at irony in that most hipstertastic of ways.
Anyway, Difficulty is a fantastic album of arty pop with enough post punk angularity, disco punk danceability, and 20 something moodiness to keep anyone under the weather happy. You might almost think of Difficulty as a Second City attempt at being Interpol, but I'm not sure that works all the way through this record. While there is an undoubtedly cool, crystalline guitar sound to their songs and the drums are scattershot in a disco like style, the band doesn't have that cloud of Joy Division gothicism hanging over them. Arty yes, depressed no. One listen to, "Blind Our Eyes," will show you what I'm talking about as the song has a degree of melancholy too it, but the hooks and choruses alone uplift the song and make it a thing of beauty. Truth is Difficulty might be a little bit difficult to categorize, which if you think about it, works to their advantage.
Let's just say that Difficulty is an angular romp through art pop territory with enough soaring vocals, skittish beats, and chiming guitars to keep anyone listening moving, attentive and enraptured. This is a record filled with fantastic songs that recovers quickly from an atmospheric stumble at the beginning. It's the sort of thing that lingers with you and makes your feet shuffle at the same time. Difficulty are ornate songwriters and that's reflected throughout the ten songs here...they might be artful and angular to the point of geometry but they never lose sight of the song and it's importance and that's why it's almost too easy to get into Difficulty.