The Archibalds

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

The Archibalds

Easy Living (Superpop!)

Joey Thompson, principle songwriter for the Archibalds, has a knack for bringing out the gold in other people's trash. His character sketches spring to life on the band's second full-length, Easy Living, with scandalous tales such as "Me & Your Sister," "Gold Teeth," and "Come on In," while the small-stakes malaise and junkyard folk in "Hood Rats" and the title track split the difference between the Gourds and Beck's early slacker raps. From the spaghetti Western swing of "You Tell Me" and old-timey waltz "Milking the Cow" to the off-kilter funeral march "Cemetery Songs" and plaintive "High Water," the Archibalds rein in and refine the eclecticism of the quartet's 2007 debut, O Camellia, thanks largely to the superb production and harmonies of bassist Seth Gibbs. In doing so, Easy Living captures life on the bottom rung in all its rusted glory, almost like a broken-down, modern version of Doug Sahm's Groover's Paradise.

***.5

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