Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. began as basement jam sessions between friends Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein, but has since risen from the basement and into the indie spotlight. Following the release of their Patterns EP and an appetizer single earlier this year, the proud Detroiters are coming forward with their second full-length, The Speed Of Things. A departure from their earlier works of rock-inflected synthpop, this album runs more in the vein of modern psychedelia à la MGMT, evident in the often dreamy, far away vocals and the much more layered electronic sounds laid over driving, danceable beats.
The record begins with “Beautiful Dream,” a song that sonically reflects the nature of its title, and is reprised later in the LP. The album’s aforementioned promotional single, “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dance Floor),” is an instantly catchy standout with a hook that’s worth whistling. As with other similar electropop songs, the internet is flooded with EDM remixes, a testament to the piece’s infectious nature. “I Can’t Help It” has a spine-tingling chord progression in the chorus. The penultimate track, “A Haunting,” is a beautifully distorted and emotional finale, followed by “War Zone,” a closer about reawakening and recovery; it is a cheerful ending to a full-length.
The Speed Of Things is very much an indie-pop record, in the best possible way. The overall bright sound, due in part to the persistent ahh-ing of the background vocals, gives off a constant aura of hopefulness and pleasant attitudes. Even the slower, softer, and less manic songs keep up a smiling face. The end result is a set of 13 ear-exciting grooves that will take a while to get old.