Let Go

Let Go
(The Militia Group)

There is such a thing as sophisticated simplicity, and Let Go's self-titled debut makes a sly example. With its soaring vocal harmonies, shimmering drums, and rich, driving guitar, it feels comfortably familiar at first listen. But on second thought, how many new bands are giving a 21st-century, indie spin to the guilty-pleasure sounds of the late '70s and early '80s? That's something we haven't heard much of these days. Leave it to former members of The Stereo, and Gloritone -- bassist Chris Serafini, drummer Scott Hessel, and singer/guitarist Jamie Woolford, who produced the album -- to simultaneously reference emo and an earlier generation of emotional rock delivered by bands such as Cheap Trick, Journey, and Foreigner. Songs like "Spotlights" and the super-catchy "Bombs Away" play with the same kind of pop melodies that fuel Jimmy Eat World's buoyant choruses, still staying grounded in rock with bass-and-guitar ferocity. And then there are tracks with a bolder vintage vibe, like the heartfelt "No Drugs, No Alcohol." Starting with electric piano and adding acoustic guitar, the drama swells, peaks with a flurry of oohs and aahs, then breaks into a faster tempo and staccato guitar for the second half of the song. Woolford sings passionately whether the arrangements are minimalist or lush, revealing the album's bottom line: This guy has a gift for melody. -- Michele Laudig

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