It’s All Too Beautiful
The Differents is that perfect neutrality to bring in the new year. It’s All Too Beautiful is a gorgeous blend of ‘70s-era rock and roll tinted with the youthfulness of college rock. It makes sense when the band’s origins come from the early ‘90s Chicago rock scene. Yet after releasing three albums and playing hundreds of shows, it was 2003 when the band went semi-vacant. Now they are back with a rock and roll buzz that is intoxicating.
On It’s All Too Beautiful, guitarist and vocalist Lou Hallwas sounds like A Man Under the Influence-era Alejandro Escovedo. With an exploration of fragility and a tinge of defiance, Hallwas sings with sincerity. But that does not distract from the strength of the band’s music.
“Dresser Drawers” has that Big Star or Visconti sound. It fills the room. The philosophy reminds me of Lee Renaldo trying to cover the Grateful Dead. This song could have been an alt rock classic in its day.
Amp things up to full caffeine and “What You Got” has a horn section that sounds like it came out of the 1972 Muscle Shoals Stones sessions. Hallwas brings a hint of danger into the guitarwork, adding chaos to their foundation. “Your Prettiest Face” takes those horns and seduces you into an R&B wonderland under a canopy of ‘60s rock jangle.
Hallwas knows how to turn a song’s tempo into the open road even if that road feels more like Highway 10 than the Dan Ryan. It’s All Too Beautiful may not be blowing minds, yet it’s steady quality turns rock into something sophisticated and expressive in the way you would expect Chicago rock to illuminate. It’s a strong release that should be in your collection.