If you have a fondness for the olden days of Sub Pop, Tropical Jinx will go a long way towards satisfying your cravings.
Philadelphia’s Little Big League is a quartet that features former members of Titus Andronicus, Strand of Oaks, and Post Post, and it has a ‘90s indie rock sound. There’s a bit of post-rock in the mix, too. However, Little Big League is the sort of thing you wear flannel to. Vocalist Michelle Zauner goes from a girlish coo to a banshee wail, often within the same song. It reminds me of a similar trick used in an Eric's Trip song. And while there’s nothing remotely original about this group’s sound, it’s still a pretty good time. The title track, a two-minute blast that opens this sophomore album, even has a bit of Rolling Stones swagger to it. "Sucker", meanwhile, might pass for early Superchunk or even Sonic Youth. "Deer Head" is a delightful jangle. "Dixie Gun" strums along with Zauner’s vocals suitably mumbled -- a connection to R.E.M.? "Property Line" boasts a horn section, even, and the nod to a Broken Social Scene-like style works. And so it goes. This is nothing that would be ripe for reinvention, but if you’re looking for a blast from the past, then Tropical Jinx delivers. Well, mostly.
By the time you get to the eighth track of this 10-song collection, "Take It to a Weird Sad Place", the album begins to peter out and run out of steam. In fact, the nearly seven-minute final track, "In Air", drones on for far too long. Despite all that, Tropical Jinx gives you plenty to chew on. In fact, this might be a band that would work fairly well in a live setting, such is the heft and power to a lot of these songs. And the songs themselves are quite retro in feel, so anyone missing their salad days would certainly do no wrong in checking this outfit out. Tropical Jinx might not be exactly tropical, but there’s a warmness here as well as, conversely, that autumnal sound of the start of college. When it comes right down to it, Little Big League could lead the way for a revival of ‘90s indie rock, and that wouldn’t necessarily be an unwelcome thing. There’s still life left in the genre, and if you have a fondness for the olden days of Sub Pop, Tropical Jinx will go a long way towards satisfying your cravings.