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Arts and Entertainment

Brooklyn Boys The Honorary Title "Light Up the Sky"

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It seems to be a recurring event; it happened last week with Rilo Kiley and now this week with The Honorary Title. Abandoning your signature sound for a more radio-friendly one can either be a disaster (Liz Phair) or a step forward in creative development. Luckily, The Honorary Title finds firm footing in Scream and Light Up the Sky, an album that embraces the band’s pop sensibilities.

The album opens humbly with lyrically driven anthems “Thin Layer” and “Stay Away” but immediately kicks into gear with “Untouched and Intact”, the album’s first single. “Stuck at Sea” is a perfect example of THT’s new sound: ambient, area-friendly, and virtually free of acoustic intimacy. As “Far More” proves, the album is essentially a balancing act: maintaining a sound that suits Jarrod Gorbel’s vocals and lyrics but simultaneously augmenting that very sound.

"Radiate" is grand affair while "Along the Way" is a beautiful return to the days of THT's "Disengage" - both catchy and spare. And just when you think you know where this album is going "The City Summer" arrives. It's the song that could possibly propel THT into the mainstream. The song even opens with a "Na Na Na Na..." chorus. Even indie-elitists won't be able to deny this one. "Only One Week" and "Wait Until I'm Gone" recall the quiet melancholy of Anything Else but the Truth, providing a great showcase for Jarrod Gorbel's heartfelt vocals. Closing the album is "Even If", a gorgeous new type of THT intimacy that's easy to embrace, even love.

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Lyrically, THT have never been more consistent. Their songs have always contained both cynicism and depth but Scream and Light Up the Sky contains the strongest hooks of their career. Produced by Rob Schnapf, who has worked with Elliott Smith and Beck, The Honorary Title greatly expands their sound without abandoning their trademark style. Jarrod Gorbel's haunting vocals and deep confessionals sound better than ever on an album that, instead of taming their sound, makes it louder, more defined, and more polished. Even armed with a newly engaging, radio-friendly sound, The Honorary Title still remains a quality band, with all of its golden traits untouched and intact. It's just a miracle that The OC soundtrack producers never got a hold of theses guys (Thank god).