September 05, 2003

Lazy "Essentially"

It's a shame that Lazy's brand of intelligent, no-frills pop music has fallen out of favor with today's fickle indie-rock crowd. Easily dismissed as "alt-rock crap," "fratboy rock" or "boring, soulless dreck," intelligent, enjoyable pop music that doesn't require anything from the listener deserves a better fate. It's odd, too, to see how quickly people polarize around something like this. Liking music for music's sake seems to be the kiss of death among the cognoscenti, and a band like Lazy would not stand a chance in today's indie scene. If a band is compared to Barenaked Ladies and Ben Folds Five--well, heck, you might as well call them nazi wifebeating childkiller republicans.

Oh, please. Spare me.

Lazy is an excellent little group, and though you've probably heard their style of music, you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss them. Theirs is a pop sensibility that's based upon both early 80s and early 90s alternative/college rock/new wave/whatever sound, one that's endebted as much Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello as it is to Barenaked Ladies and Ben Folds. Starting off with their hit, "Sleeping In," a mid-tempo rocker driven by some pretty sweet melodies and some well-written lyrics, Lazy set their template down from the beginning, and they never really vary from that formula on Essentially. They have a few moments that veer toward singer-songwriter/ territory, such as "Telephone Waltz" and "Gone," and I have no problem with that.

If I were going out to catch a local band at my local tavern, I'd hope that they'd be at least one-tenth as good as Lazy. Their sound could be the soundtrack for your college years, and, unlike your favorite hip underground band, you'd probably actually stay loyal to Lazy. Heck, I think Lazy would do well hooking up with soundtrack programmers, as their sound could do well on the backing music track. Lazy's songs are simply wonderful pop nuggets, and in this sea of imitated originality, I really appreciate the breather.

(PS. This is not the same Lazy as the mid-90s Columbus, Ohio punk band of the same name.)

--Joseph Kyle

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