Herzog – Cartoon Violence
The second LP from Cleveland, Ohio’s Herzog is a significant step forward from their 2010 debut Search; a record which sounded, by turns, like a band unsure of itself, then all-too-sure that it wanted to sound exactly like early Pavement. On Cartoon Violence, that lo-fi influence is conspicuously absent, with a bittersweet draught of power-pop threading its way through the record in its place.
Despite the misanthropic tinge to the lyrics – opener Fuck This Year sums up the air of tongue-in-cheek nihilism – the music is all Beach Boys-style rolling harmonies and full-blooded power-chord choruses. You Clean Up Nice is a highlight: a sparkling take on sunkissed punk-pop that oozes vitality. Although the quintet seems to lose a little focus on slower tracks like Dreaming Man II, Cartoon Violence, for the most part, is the sound of a band gleefully asserting a newly-consolidated identity.