BIG STIR RECORDS proudly announce the August 14 release on of LONG OVERDUE, the debut album from Akron, Ohio's LIBRARIANS WITH HICKEYS, on CD and Digital Download and available for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com/store now. Featuring an even dozen freshly-bound guitar-pop titles, Long Overdue is aptly (and slyly) titled: the band has taken extra time to craft a full album's worth of songs that could all be released as singles (and a few that already have been, to great acclaim). In the long run, it's worth the listener's time to invest and listen to the record as a whole... we're sure you will feel the same rush as you did when you got your first library card!
To extend the literary metaphor, Long Overdue is a virtual how-to manual on how to craft the textbook-perfect guitar-pop debut. It's a stack of tracks the likes of which might have felt at home in 1979 amongst the sterling first albums from The Records, The Beat, 20/20 and The Knack, each stuffed with should-be hits. And our Librarians – starting with the foundation of the twin jangle and strum of Ray Carmen (vocals/guitar) and Mike Crooker (guitar/backing vocals), the groove of Andrew Wilco (bass) and the rhythmic backbone of Rob Crossley (drums/piano) – meet the halcyon standard of that benchmark year handily. To be sure, they nod back to the earlier Beatles/Byrds/Big Star classics, and forward to the later likes of Teenage Fanclub and The Posies, but we at Big Stir, careful only to apply the term when it truly applies, can in this case assure you that, yes, it IS power pop.
That LWH would deliver such a record was always in the cards, if you'll pardon yet another pun. Long Overdue builds on the momentum of their first two Big Stir Records singles (“Until There Was You” b/w “And Then She's Gone” and “Black Velvet Dress” b/w “Alex”) which received world-wide airplay and rave reviews. They're all here – with the ringing jangle and choirboy harmonies of the two A-sides bookending the album – and they're joined by the lead-off single “That Time Is Now” (featuring guest vocals from LA-based pop chanteuse Lisa Mychols) and seven more tunes belonging on the same shelves as the band's storied influences.
The Librarians' core gift for melody and dual-guitar chime are what caught the keen Midwestern ears of Big Stir Records founder Christina Bulbenko, and the seemingly endless string of potential A-sides set co-founder Rex Broome into that 1979 all-killer, no-filler frame of mind in recommending an album. But this is pure-pop-for-always-people, as the cross-generational arrangement and production choices attest. Take, for example, the Farfisa-laden garage-rock charge of the Nuggets-ready “Leave Me Alone”, rubbing shoulders with “Be My Plus One”, a lighthearted, sunshine pop tune, complete with ukulele in a Macca-meets-Tiny Tim (somewhere in the tulips) kind of way. Add in the New Order-esque throb of Andrew Wilco's lead bass and the synths that shape “Silent Stars”, and the borderline yacht-rock of “Next Time”, a tune that might've gone missing from a John Hughes soundtrack, replete with saxophone and a Simmons electronic drum break, and the picture comes into focus. It's the full, rich history of melodic rock music, all happening at once.
It's all the hits that will fit, encompassing psych rock swirl (“Obsession”, which wouldn't be complete without a backward guitar solo from Crooker), the Plimsouls-like rush of “Poor Reception”, the postpunk drive of “Looking For Home”, and what Mike DeAngelis of There Once Was A Note calls “a power pop reinvention of The Beatles’ 'She’s Leaving Home,' with 'oooooohs' and chiming guitars” on “And Then She's Gone”.
For all the diverse stylistic flourishes, LWH stick firmly to the sonic blueprint – two guitars, bass and drums, and harmony vocals – established on their debut single “Until There Was You”. Lyrically, the song ponders a “what-if” scenario wherein Nick Drake snapped out of his depression, met someone who changed his life, and didn't die. It led off the recent Big Stir Records: The Sixth Wave CD and it leads off Long Overdue, because, as the saying goes “you dance with the girl that brought you” and this song made everything else happen in its wake.
That includes the other single sides (who can tell the A's from the B's?) that've preceded the record... we know they're gold. “ “Alex” is “a very lovely dreamy jangly indie-pop song,” (Kim Hatten of Bliss Aquamarine in the UK) evincing “the exceptionally ethereal sheen of, say, the (Buffalo) Springfield or even The Who at their most subtle and nuanced” (Gary Pig Gold of The Rock and Roll Report). And Gold sums up the album-closing “Black Velvet Dress” – and perhaps the whole of Long Overdue itself – as well as we could hope to:
“It's the power and the glory of the three-minute four-chord p-o-p song done right... 'Black Velvet Dress' will in no way fail to raise you off your settee and shove things direct towards the nearest Volume UP knob... Nostalgic? No. The word would be 'timeless'.” And so it is, all of it. Throughout Long Overdue, the band never forgets that the song comes first, and one thing remains consistent – handclaps. And tambourines! And hooks, and harmony... and much more, all of it making this record one to check out, and perhaps hold onto well past its return date. Librarians With Hickeys will forgive you.