Jack Antonoff returns to his indie roots with an entertaining Springsteen cosplay on Bleachers' third album.
Jack Antonoff has made a considerable name for himself through his stellar production work over the past number of years with some of the biggest names in music - from an essential assist in Taylor Swift's recent indie folk evolution to co-creating career best records for Lorde and Lana Del Rey.
But before he was the go-to guy for these supersonic talents amongst others, Antonoff was frontman and sole permanent member of humble indie pop outfit Bleachers (as well as drummer for the infuriatingly quirky fun. with their annoyingly successful chart bait - but I digress and we move on).
Written over the course of the pandemic and rolled out this past year with a fantastic array of singles that drew on the outrageous star power Antonoff no doubt has on speed dial (hear the Boss himself on majestic heartland anthem 'Chinatown' and LDR lurking in the shadows on gothic acoustic ballad 'Secret Life'), Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night sees Antonoff take a cinematic trip back to Brat Pack era eighties.
Drawing on a range of easily spotted influences and identifiable sounds over the course of a low-key charming half hour, Antonoff executes a mix of Americana, rockabilly and baroque rock that pays earnest tribute to the soundtrack of his teenage years, with the unmistakable shadow of Springsteen looming large over nearly all of these ten tracks.
As you'd expect, Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night is immaculately mixed and crafted with the obsessively neat touch of a production wizard like Antonoff, so that even in moments when its influences are a little too on the nose, or slower turns toward the tracklists relatively weak conclusion fail to match up to the songwriting standards of Antonoff's various superstar collaborators, these tracks still sound smooth as silk.
To give credit where it's due, this is not a case of Antonoff allowing his guests to do the heavy lifting. Bleachers are also capable of writing captivating indie pop tracks without the assistance of world famous features, as demonstrated on standouts such as 'How Dare You Want More?' and 'Stop Making This Hurt'. These highlights among others display the advantages of Antonoff's impressive production credits, as he tries on a variety of genres for fun with the nous of a veteran songwriter, undoubtedly aided by his vast knowledge of the musical landscape he has traversed over the better part of the last decade.
Ultimately, while it may be guilty of wearing its influences with the subtlety of a brick, Bleachers are clearly having a hell of a lot of fun riffing on the music that moulded them - and for the most part, it's a blast.
6.5 / C+
Best Tracks: 'Chinatown (feat. Bruce Springsteen)'/'How Dare You Want More?'/'Stop Making This Hurt'
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Born In The USA - Bruce Springsteen
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