Opening with the positive and upbeat ‘Perspective’ Underlined Passages is a breezy slice of summer pop.
Leaning towards the infections sounds of Bright Eyes and Eliott Smith, bursting into its almost mantra like chorus of “I have, I have, I have, I have a good life”, it’s hard not to get swept up into its overwhelming outlook on things. ‘
Every Night’ glances towards the way Teenage Fanclub have always been able to create cute love songs while managing to be effortlessly hip at the same time. The sound is classic lo-fi, and yet tight and on point throughout, with vocals that wander into emo territory from time to time.
‘Hope Springs’ keeps on going in the same way, sounding like those moments when Pavement would drift into a reverie and let the music do the talking, with a lazy piano that calmly drives things along and gives an emotional warmth to the proceedings. It’s a track that is almost religious in its adorational lyrics delivered by lead singer Michael Nestor that are drenched in wistfulness and nostalgia.
‘Underlined Passages From Your Books’ gives the band’s name a nice nod and wink, and the music is burgeoning with warmth and glory, drums and cymbals booming and splashing with an expressive style, while ‘Magic Logic Life’ puts its foot to the floor and unpacks an indie rock song that is impossible not to love. It’s one of those songs that when you hear it for the first time, it immediately feels like an old friend. It’s entirely new, totally original, and yet somehow feels like the kind of song you used to listen to back when your were a teenager, worrying about what the girl next door thought of you. That is totally the vibe that runs through the album, its all about those crazy out of control feelings that ran through us all when we were trying to work out what life is all about – maybe we still are, and maybe why that’s why the album works in the way it does. It has the power to reach inside you and touch you somewhere you had forgotten all about, but once it is reawakened, you’ll know that you need to stand up and go and do that thing you’ve spent all these years telling yourself you can’t do.
‘It’s OK’ continues to draw on all that is good and beautiful about Underlined Passages, creating a kind of sonic salve for the soul. Perfect for putting on at those times when you’ve felt let down or misunderstood. It’s certainly no secret that Nestor is a romantic at heart, and I’m sure that this is is gift to the world, to pass on a positive outlook that will lift the heads of many of those who have all but given up. The instrumental ‘Sonata’ acts as a brief nod to post rock, before passing into ‘Like 2009’, a track that immediately suggests nostaligia and the way we all look back to a time when things used to be different.
Closing with ‘The Reservior’, Underlined Passages draws to its end gently and introspectively. Fragile vocals gently wander over a landscape of texture tone, bringing the listener to a place where the only real option is to stand up and go and do something creative while using the album as the soundtrack.