What a step up these guys made from album one to two. This effort is stunningly coherent and well-structured. The band have developed a clear, unmistakable sound, one which will be aped almost to the note by a few followers down the track (Matthew Sweet, are you out there?).
It is seems so stunningly simple. Lay down a tom-heavy beat, some Byrds-ish guitar layers (especially a trebly lead riff), and then top it off with some relaxed, adenoidal vocals. Folks have been trying this on for decades. Somehow Big Star get it so much more on the money than anyone sense (other than perhaps Teenage Fanclub who are ever so more rockingier – Wow, could that sound any more contrived?).
While the album lacks an all-time classic single, it certainly gets inside your head. The opener O My Soul is a fantastic roadhouse bar band effort, with a hilarious opening rift. Back of a Car is the tune you’d play to show how Matthew Sweet sounds. While this album is much less Brit-invasion than their debut, Mod Lang would easily fit the Stones’ repertoire.
Oh, to timemachine back to 1974 and see these guys in action…
File under: Power pop mastery