Music makes me happy, music makes me sad, and maybe best of all, every great once in a while, music makes me excited. The All-About – principally singer, songwriter, musician Zac Coe and some talented friends – falls into that latter category.
One of the many talented young groups who have recorded at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen studio in Brooklyn, the All-About’s boy/girl vocals (the girl is Katie Jenks), giddy new-wave melodies, perfectly structured instrumentation (acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and drums mixed with synth, organ, piano, and sax) and insightful lyrics bring to mind nothing so much as early Los Campesinos. Coe’s boyish vocals capture both the joy and angst of post-adolescence with lines that stick in your ear like sonic Post-Its: “some girls are too dressed up not to go dancing, and too drunk to just go home;” “attractive young people with a lot in common/spend time together for a reason/we can’t help ourselves.”
Tracks like “Not Your Type” and “Lovesick Anthem” provide the perfect soundtrack for a new wave dance party, while slower songs like “winterpop” deliciously wallow in rainy day regret and sorrow (“were those terms of endearment only terms of surrender?”) without ever falling into the emo trap of whiny self-pity. Even if the problems of privileged hipster twentysomethings make you want to throw a brick through your television (I Just Want My Pants Back, I’m looking at you), Zac Coe will make you care about his lyrics. In that regard, he reminds me a bit of the Front Bottoms’ Brian Sella, whom I’ve been pretty vocal about touting as the cleverest songwriter of his generation. Now, he has some competition.
– Jim Testa