In 2017, hip-hop surpassed rock as our country’s most popular genre. It’s hard to be surprised, after all, is there any modern rock artist out there of Kendrick Lamar’s caliber? (Going by the Nielsen consumption numbers, maybe Ed Sheeran.) Obviously, the landscape of popular music is far more diverse than this hip-hop and rock dichotomy, but this brings up the point that rock has kind of grown complacent, and an album like Hurry’s Every Little Thought (Lame-O Records) reinforces how indie rock in particular has stayed put.
As the perfect amalgamation of early Real Estate, Belong-era Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Gin Blossoms, and The La’s a la “There She Goes,” Every Little Thought was tailor-made for 2011. I’d even go so far as to say Yuck’s self-titled 2011 debut is effectively the higher functioning compatriot of Every Little Thought. Both albums offer easy-listening indie-rock—the kind a large swath of bands were making in early 2010s—while paying heavy homage to ‘90s indie rock royalty like Yo La Tengo. But even though Yuck and Every Little Thought are stylistically similar, Yuck is clearly the more versatile and inventive. Who knows, perhaps Yuck’s success was a result of being first or arriving at the right time.
If we were to somehow remove timing as context to Every Little Thought, it does have some moments that almost break through its greater tepidness. The album’s title track starts sweet and sing-songy until it’s run into the ground in the last two of its five minutes with incessant repetition of the chorus. Other segments of the album are rendered lukewarm by frontman Matthew Scottoline’s plain voice. See “Waiting For You.” While showing some relative compositional range, hearing Scottoline sing “Baby, I was looking for you, I’m just waiting for you” during the bridge is about as wince-worthy an experience as they come.
Every Little Thought’s harkens back to an indie rock era that’s no longer in vogue, or rather, an intriguing listen—especially when it’s done as passively as Hurry does here. This may serve as a microcosm for rock’s ineffectual direction. That aforementioned 2011 year felt somewhat like a mini-golden age for indie rock; instead of stretching that era’s boundaries, bands like Hurry are just lingering there.