Every song on the debut EP by the Charlotte, North Carolina, band It Looks Sad. is a single word and the lyrics are just as plainspoken and simple — on “Radical,” Jimmy Turner pleads, “And I ask why/ Do we die?” Meanwhile, clean, delayed guitars overlap each other over mid-tempo drums and yawned vocals, all rendered with mid-fi production. It’s the kind of thing that makes you realize dream-pop acts DIIV, Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils have been around long enough to potentially be influences on a new band. The guilelessness can actually be charming.
Yet, It Looks Sad. isn’t on Captured Tracks, but Tiny Engines, a label more known for punk and emo. As Self-Titled progresses, the fit makes more sense; both “Fingers” and “Ocean” have a rhythmic liveliness and instability that “those Brooklyn bands” maybe lack, while Turner’s vocals begin to pierce through the reverb. If the band can merge their dream-pop and emo sides into a more singular “dreamo,” they’ll have a lot more to distinguish them than charm.