To fully understand what went into Some Racing, Some Stopping, one must first understand what led up to it. Since Headlights' formation in 2004, the band has toured virtually nonstop, playing over 300 shows in the past two and a half years in support of its debut The Enemies EP and its stunning 2006 full-length Kill Them With Kindness.
Based around Tristan Wraight's acoustic guitar and Erin Fein's keyboards, the songs on Some Racing, Some Stopping purposefully lack much of the spacey atmospherics that define the band's earlier work. Instead the album is steeped in a classic pop sensibility, reminiscent of the '60s, Brill Building song craft, and Phil Spector production.
Songs like the chiming, harmonic "Catch Them All," the light and airy "Cherry Tulips," the solemn "January," and the driving, string-touched "Market Girl" are evidence of an album that is more focused than any of the band's past work.
Calling Headlights "nice" sounds like a backhanded compliment, but Some Racing wears the tag proudly: It's charming, but never boring.
From end to end, and without a weak moment, Headlights' second full-length inspires awe at how deftly the band employs bells, organ swells, orchestral flourishes and stacked, co-ed "oohs' and "aahs" for instant indie-pop bliss.
The shoegaze shroud that covered their 2006 debut Kill Them With Kindness has been swept away to reveal confident, catchy indie-pop loveliness.
The Onion AV Club
It might be a little early to start throwing around the word "sleeper," but screw it: Unless this ends up being a banner year for Impeccably crafted indie-pop releases, Headlights' Some Racing, Some Stopping is bound to be one of the great sleeper records of 2008.
Tristan Wraight and Erin Fein's boy-girl vocals sit atop a Spector-sized wall of sound on "On April 2", while "Catch Them All" is like Belle & Sebastian backed by the London Symphony Orchestra and the breezy, organ-led "Cherry Tulips" wouldn't have been out of place on the last Rilo Kiley album.
1Get Yer Head Around It (3:25)
2Cherry Tulips (3:29)
3Market Girl (3:34)
4On April 2 (2:36)
5School Boys (3:14)
6Some Racing, Some Stopping (3:58)
7So Much For The Afternoon (3:17)
8Catch Them All (2:48)