The Oklahoma City-based quartet plays straightforward pop songs here, relying on vocals and lyrics to carry the release instead of the ear-crushing, distorted guitars of Weezer, to which the group is often compared.
This is made clear from the onset, as “Move So Slow” is played primarily on an acoustic guitar and hangs on a lyrical device instead of a musical one. The clever song uses the ubiquity of driving and playing in a band as a metaphor for losing sight of loved ones in the tedium of life. There is a rock-out section, but the focus is thoughtful as opposed to “bashing it out in a garage.” (Be not afraid: There’s still plenty of rock to go around, as “Instant Insanity” proves.)
But even thoughtful people can be hilarious, and the best humor is clever. “Bowling with a Genius” is a smile-inducing bit of absurdity that masks deep questions, while “Hipster Kid/Sexy Beards” is an ironic joy, poking fun at a subgenre that Broyles and the rest of Dr. Pants fall near, if not exactly in (there are Weezer glasses and an excellent beard on display in their lineup). It’s witty fun — I dare you to not hum along with the phrase “Sexy beards” and its corresponding “ah-oo-ah-ah-oos.”
The tight pop songwriting of “The Trip” contains excellent lyrics and a firm grasp on the line between irony and parody. If you’re not listening to Dr. Pants yet, you should be. —Stephen Carradini