The Literary Greats create easygoing mid-tempo rock out of Texas.
This Houston five-piece sounds uncannily like Cracker at times, but The Literary Greats still manage, for the most part, to infuse the easygoing rock of Ocean, Meet the Valley with its own sensibility. "That Mountain Yonder" works well as an album opener, with Brandon Elam and Taylor Lee's twinned vocals riding along crests of peppy guitar. "Oh Abilene" rocks out convincingly enough, while slower songs like "The Black Bee" and "Dreadnought" change up the pace a bit. By the time listeners reach the last three songs, Cracker comparisons have faded, if not disappeared entirely. "Ruby Sapphire" trundles along courtesy of a propulsive bass line, "Ocean Waves" opts for aching wistfulness, and "Hill Country Queen" is just sweet in a way that's entirely absent of irony and cleverness. A follow-up to the band's self-titled 2007 debut, this album is consistently mid-tempo, middle-of-the-road and easy on the ears.