Chicago-based indie-pop-rock outfit Livingroom recently released their debut album, Don’t Shoot the Messenger!, following on the coattails of their 2020 debut EP, Honeybee, which won the ILMEA All-State Composition Award for the title track.
Produced by Julian Stacey, the album was written during COVID and examines how relationships form and fall apart.
Made up of Jeremy Bernstein (bass, guitar), Sam Collett (drums), Danny McNeela (guitar, vocals), and Lev Sheinfeld (keyboards, vocals), Livingroom’s four members got together as freshmen in high school in 2018. Starting as a backing group for their school’s variety show, the quartet soon became a serious band with a unique sound they call “grape pop.”
Encompassing 10-tracks, entry points on the album include “August II,” opening on swirling, kaleidoscopic colors flowing into oscillating, computerized voices. “Mickey the Daydreamer” travels on retro ‘50s and ‘60s layers of creamy music topped by deliciously smooth vocals. The rhythm, pulsing and bouncy, bops along with bright colors and a tasty horn.
A personal favorite, “Window Shopping” rolls out on undulating hues of glimmering pop flavors as a rich, clear voice infuses the lyrics with retro quixotic savors. “Tangents (Aside)” opens on an elegant piano, rippling with heavy tones. A dreamy, lush voice rides overhead, full of seductive aromas.
“SOS” features hints of folk blended with pop elements into a gleaming melody full of glistening guitars. A gentle sparkling piano imbues the tune with romantic filaments as warm, passionate vocals roll overhead, rife with melancholy and nostalgia.
The final track, “Livingroom,” travels on a graceful piano, followed by emerging horns and glittering accents. The flow of the horns is gorgeous. Tender vocals enter, infusing the lyrics with mellow tones. As the harmonics soar, the song takes on majestic depth and potent dimension.
On Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Livingroom pushes out sweet pop flavors, alluring rhythms, and scrumptious vocals.