There is something incredibly satisfying about a gnarly sounding recording, something so raw and unflinchingly earnest from soup to nuts. Such is the case with msyoulvyou by Trouble Sleeping, a lo-fi goldmine of garage rock inflected jams that would make Brian Wilson weep. There is an airy cool to the music, chunky riffs and monolithic, reverb drenched drums, clanging away in the background, a little tinny as if whoever recorded the Pussy Galore album from back in the day teleported through space and time to 2018 and got right back to work with a four track. The melodies here are on point and ultra catchy, jangling guitars chiming in the beat, the condenser mic on the drums smoking hot. Zachary Goldstein is the man behind the curtain and does a great job of not getting in his own way, which can be tricky for any project largely driven by one individual, to not come across as opulent or masturbatory, but the songs live and breath on their own, in an organic manner.
Tracks like ugh or album closer, the serene grace can have this one, eschew drums entirely, for a kind of stripped down Kurt Vile approach, that lives and dies on the almighty riff, which is both the heart of the beast and the platform for Goldstein’s dulcet voice. Throughout, Goldstein channels a kind of Burger Records, Ty Segall thing, like a mutated and amplified Beatles at their absolute orneriest, leaning hard on harmony, but kicking out the kind of jams that make you want to get all the way rowdy. Songs like album opener letter to Stanley or the gorgeous love song to the sidewalk out front of my apartment, exemplify that fun times vibe, uplifting and hopeful tunes that make you want to soak up the sun. These are dreamy pop songs with enough of an edge to keep you captivated, and tons of heart. Goldstein leans a bit into traditional emo tropes, but never so much that it become saccharine or feels disingenuous, as if he’s putting on a show of his feelings, but rather capturing them in the moment.
All that said, these ideas are rich for exploration, and would benefit from supplemental instrumentation and a nicer studio. The rawness of the affair is lovely and should be celebrated, but it’s difficult to not hear a live band behind this, a bombastic bass, some subtle string accompaniment on the slower songs, maybe a little piano here and there (acoustic, of course). But such is the power of the Trouble Sleeping, that it leaves you in want of more, and fantasizing about how to build on what’s there, a perfectly wonderful problem to have.