Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., June 9, 2006
Picture in My Head
The second album from this highly stylized local pop trio is precision-tuned and oversoaked with hooks. Cynical chin-scratchers might quibble with the notion of always aiming for the universal chord, but it's rare to find capital-P Pop pulled off with such a slick punch, particularly in an organic-leaning nape like Austin. Ace producer Lars Goransson mixes Picture in My Head extra hot, which compliments Household Names' big bright sound well. Guitarist/vocalist Jason Garcia is fueled by the same unrequited aspirations as Big Star devotees like Matthew Sweet and Jellyfish. Soaring group harmonies and a snap rhythm section add to the wallop. The latter figures prominently in "The Latest Success," an urgent, hold-and-release power cut that makes you want to drive too fast. "Anytime, Mrs. K" is a summer-sweet mash note to a fleeting office fling that sounds like the logical successor to Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom." The only thing missing from the Top 40 circa 1979 yearn of "Beggar's Radio" is transistor-radio crackle, but that production trick shows up soon enough between the lushly padded choruses of "Handle On." As tricked-out as these sounds are, they remain secondary to Household Names' quest for the perfect pop song.