For the acutely sensitive among us, self-image is often defined by what one doesn't want to be. With Making Beds in a Burning House, the new full-length by Troubled Hubble, the Illinois quartet makes it absolutely clear what kind of trendy genres it rejects: rock revival, dance punk, post-hardcore, freak folk. So what does that leave? Industry-standard indie rock replete with a nut-strangled singer, caustically cute lyrics and guitars strummed neither too harshly nor too politely. But despite the inherent banality of its chosen style, Troubled Hubble has delivered one of the most energetic, energizing and breathtakingly fun records since the Thermals last graced the world with a release. Indebted to such threadbare influences as Built to Spill and the Dismemberment Plan (whose Jason Caddell produced the disc), Making Beds transcends its ancestry by sticking odd orchestral bursts and Big Star-level pop melodies into leader Chris Otepka's spit-splattering rants on topics as poignant as science, sleep and the metaphysics of loneliness. Troubled Hubble may fly under the hipster radar, but with records as brilliant as this, its identity -- no matter how contrary -- won't be secret for long.
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