Although Distortion Pedal features the gentle hiss of a four track recording, and the relaxing crackle of an old LP, the ideas and ambition of Keith Freund and his bandmates in Akron’s Trouble Books, aren’t limited by their humble living room studio. The mix may be limited — if there’s clarinet, then the trumpet isn’t playing, if there’s strings, then there’s no trumpet, if the organs are whirling, then there’s no strings — you get the picture, but the songs themselves are never sacrificed. They remain delicate portraits of every day life where couples argue about the dishes, friends talk about records, and no one understands James Joyce. Part of this style may be due to the nature of the recordings, but it also can be attributed to the time Freund, Matt Haas, and Jake Trombetta have all spent with Kent’s Six Parts Seven, a band who values restraint, and who knows how small details can make a big difference in the final mix. Even when the album’s namesake, the distortion pedal, makes an appearence, it’s not used in a forceful manner, rather it’s tempered with quiet, sincere vocal harmonies. Trouble Books may have trouble understanding Joyce’s Ulysses, but as their album Distortion Pedal demonstrates, they have a thorough understanding of a different book that should be required reading for all indie bands: Zen and the Art of Indie Rock.
MP3:Trouble Books – Distortion Pedal
MP3:Trouble Books – Tusk Love