Literature’s sophomore album opens with gabby bar chatter, clinking glasses and a sprightly guitar riff. It’s an apt introduction — Chorus is ephemeral and euphoric. Eleven songs teeter between power-pop and indie pop for just 28 minutes, each one like a dazzling moment that recedes and disappears too soon.
Chorus is full of buoyant flashes, and Literature excels at wielding nuance to maximize their emotive impact. Shortly into “The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything,” the song halts for a quarter-beat in anticipation of the chorus, then slathers the next section in back-up “oohs.” It’s so effective that Literature retreads it in the album’s title track.
The guitar leads are brilliant throughout. “The English Soft Hearts” levels rapid-fire hooks at a Buzzcocks-like clip with the guitar and keyboard tones of U.K. 1980s indie-pop in high resolution. The lyrics trade in cheery mantras, quotidian scenes and unrequited love, always carefully enunciated in an affected English accent.
“New Jacket” pairs serpentine guitar runs (a la Felt’s Maurice Deebank) with straight-ahead riffing reminiscent of The Strokes. The latter underpins the album’s finest vocal hook, a hesitant line that trails off wistfully and seems to speak through the emotion withheld. It’s also a Literature epic, at nearly three-and-a-half-minutes. Literature can stretch out a song, the track proves, but restricts themselves to snappy verse/chorus structures instead.
Even more telling than the bookish posturing evoked by the moniker “Literature” is the title Chorus. A plain salute to what’s conventionally a pop song’s most rewarding part, delivering immediate and palpable pleasure is Literature’s forte. Like a syrupy but fleeting refrain, the end of Literature’s Chorus leaves us eagerly awaiting its return.