Trying to tackle any given subject in more depth through more catchy pop-oriented music is nothing new. It just depends on how well you do it.
To be able to come up with something that is remotely substantial you’d need to be able to come up with some intriguing lyrics and ‘catchy’ music, but in a manner that neither would contradict each other; they have to fit together so the music would be palpable to the listener.
Such a combination is something Chicago quartet Livingroom, Jeremy Bernstein (bass guitar, guitar); Sam Collett (drums); Danny McNeela (guitar, vocals); Lev Sheinfeld (keyboards, vocals) are trying to make work on their second album Don’t Shoot The Messenger!
Actually, they do quite a good job of it. Livingroom wraps their thoughts on, as they put it, “on the way relationships (platonic and romantic alike) can throw themselves together and disintegrate just as fast.” They see that the problem is within each individual and that they might be the messenger bringing this answer along.
Based on what they have come up with both musically and lyrically here, there is no reason to shoot them at all.
Musically, taking cues from the best of power pop (“August II”), they move all over the (pop) place, including some nifty bossa nova inclinations (“Sabrina’s Song”) to R.E.M. in their quieter mood (“SOS”), throwing in something that sounds like Coldplay’s better moments (“Tangents”). At the same time, it all sounds consistent and unified, making the album a very enjoyable listening experience.