In an almost frustratingly simplistic snapshot of sardonic teenage angst, SALES’ 2016 LP takes its place effortlessly on the shelves of beatnik high schoolers and bourgeois American hipsters. The Orlando group’s second album, bearing the same name as the band, offers a deeper look into a group which had previously released little material but glimmered with future prospects. SALES’ 2014 EP was simple and sweet, home-grown and original. It combined swooping vocals and simple dipping baselines with childishly simplistic percussion arrangements to form a pleasantly nuanced but noticeably basic beginning to the band’s discography.
Morgan (vocals, guitar) and Jordan Shih (guitar, programming) formed the indie-pop duo in 2014 and released multiple singles and an EP (including a remix from fellow Orlando artist XXYYXX) which have received mixed reviews and some minor critical acclaim. SALES LP thus delivers more music in one blow than the group had released to date.
The LP, however, contains a disappointing lack of development and breadth in comparison. Though the iconic bass lines and Lauren Morgan’s sweet yet biting vocals still couple to create an enjoyable collection, they don’t mature or vary much from the original material.
Despite the lack of growth or diversity, there are some noticeable changes in the LP’s style and delivery. The principle of these is an increased use of synth and Shih’s deejaying background to concoct a slightly more modern flavor in the tracks “Mondays” and “Be My Baby.”
Though minimal in its subtle tones and a handful of autotuned vocals, this development takes SALES closer to their ostensible genre of indie pop. Before, the group had almost advanced a satirical argument against pop through its saccharine and immature ethos. Now, however, a more intentional push away from the gritty rock tone of Waxahatchee and towards a less successful version of Beach House’s airy yet punctual alternative pop leaves the band with the risk of becoming campy or contrived – difficult issues to overcome and unattractive facets for most listeners.
For the time being, however, sober tunes like “Thurs 6-25” and “Crash” keep SALES sufficiently genuine and perfectly angst-y for the standard indie music fan. Perhaps a new instrument or a more complex percussion line will stalk into their next work, but for now the simple SALES formula remains constant, pleasant, and static.