Stories, No Names
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Aug. 13, 2010
Household NamesStories, No Names
The bane of modern-day pop purists like Austin's Household Names is never being able to transcend the sum of the genre's most venerated influences. To the local vets' credit, the only obvious name-check on Stories, No Names is a swell version of XTC's "Making Plans for Nigel." Otherwise, it's a bumper crop of meticulously crafted, heart-on-sleeve pop confessionals that brim with maturity. Too often, it's the kind of maturity that scrubs spontaneous instincts into submission, however. As a result, a promising would-be single like "Driving to LA" arrives wanting for flesh and blood to draw its star-crossed characters out. Similarly, "Live Without" addresses the collective condition, but its polish obscures the universal chord. "Definitely" is a bright spot with its slow-building, horn-accented climax, and frontman Jason Garcia's Robin Zander-caliber vocals cinch the flanged-out, open sky sound of "My Sweet Day."