The "B&E" in the name refers to principles Brendan Corcoran and Eammon Azizi, who started as an acoustic duo performing at local taverns. We Regret Everything is the product of a five-piece band, but the songs keep the open, strummy nature of those performances. The drums are light and loose, bell-like keyboards float in the distance, and the occasional electric-guitar lead adds a focal point to these sometimes-shapeless songs. The music is good poppy, a little gritty and there are traces of the Hold Steady's Craig Finn in Corcoran's adenoidal scream and spit-fire delivery; the final track, "Time Capsule 2006," in fact, accurately apes Finn's street poetry, with kids maxing out on over-the-counter medicine and religious dogma. But while Corcoran's elastic yelp makes Everything stand out and in general this is almost always a good thing there are moments on the album where his affectations sound like an act, as his speak-singing becomes catatonic.
Still, We Regret Everything is promising. Witness the centerpiece "Pop Rox," a great two-minute song about summer love gone sour. Handclaps and shouted back-up vocals make it resemble a Jonathan Richman outtake, but in the place of the latter's childlike optimism lies smirking bitterness. The smart money is on B&E making the leap from happy-hour entertainers to a full-on rock band. Corcoran just needs to remember that on a CD, you don't have to shout to be heard over the din of the drunks at the bar.
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