Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

It's a Corporate World (Warner Bros.)

ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

It's a Corporate World (Warner Bros.)

One would be forgiven for expecting more schlock than awe from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s major label full-length, especially given their name and all-out 'Merica- and NASCAR-themed live show. It's a Corporate World is not without its playfulness, but what emerges most is restraint and nuance from the Detroit duo, as well as the general pop earnestness that drives the tunes. Opener "Morning Thought" bends between touches of Animal Collective and Flaming Lips, with harmonies winding through delicately fuzzed melodies that sound oddly like an electro-tracked update to Simon & Garfunkel. "Skeletons" and "Nothing but Our Love" are beautifully melodic, while "Simple Girl" bounces wonderfully Beatles-esque. Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott meld naturally, both in the chorus swells of aptly titled "Vocal Chords" and in the dynamic, syncopated rhythms propelling songs like the title track, while "We Almost Lost Detroit" revs like a more soulful Black Keys. (1:30pm, Honda stage)

***.5

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