Park The Van, 2011

Ah, summer, right? Hot sticky afternoons playing in pools and watching baseball and eating ice cream and… Honestly, I really hate summer. As abnormal as that sounds, my spirits are far more copacetic on a chilly autumn day or in the middle of a January snow fall. Which makes it even more unusual that I love this album so much. Despite its Spring release, this bad boy from Louisana indie rock duo Generationals is a summerpalooza album if I’ve ever heard one. One catchy hook after another of lo-fi pop rock, smoothed out with rhythm guitars, keyboards and hip-swingingly extroverted drums. If there’s ever been a record to roadtrip with the windows down and the car speakers on full blast, it’s this.

But this album has more than just the sugary content necessary to make a fantastic seasonal romp, it boasts really well-constructed songs with far more maturity and poise than a duo’s sophomore release should be expected to have. From the very get-go, “Ten Twenty Ten” opens with moxy over wavy syncopated guitars and hand claps. “I Promise” keeps things moving with Motown piano chords and danceable guitars that would make Phoenix nod their proverbial head. What’s really interesting is the breakdown of the song, just barely over a minute and a half in and everything grinds to a halt while the lead singer centers himself and background vocals ooh and aah before the drums smack everything back in place. Most bands would be happy with the two-and-a-half minute cracker jack pop song but Generationals display acute sensitivity to the craft by doing things they way they want and rewarding the listener with replay value amidst the extremely fun accessibility.

Just two years after their debut, Generationals have given us something to put them on the map. Their previous band’s split over lack of excitement in being musicians after a brief run-in with fame on a Grey’s Anatomy episode has clearly removed the chaff from earlier work. There isn’t a bad song here, and what’s more, no song that isn’t clever and exuberant. The way “Yours Forever” weaves a standard infatuation song over a 16-bit video game chorus, or “Tell Me Now” blends a power-pop anthem with lo-fi guitars and warped, sprawling keyboard arpeggios, Actor-Caster is a treasure trove of indie pop rock songs and enough to even get *me* in the mood for a little more summer.