Eager to showcase their evolving technical skills and musical maturity, The Lytics embrace an even broader sonic palette on sophomore full-length They Told Me.
Following up on the success of their eponymous 2009 debut, the group here explores an impressive array of new territories, from the working-class escapism of Can We Run Away, to the mod-rock backbeat and orch-pop stylings of Stay Calm. The radio-friendly Ready blends spacey synth stabs and indie-rock guitars, Dear World’s jazzy affirmations get a boost from New Jack trumpet fills, and empowerment anthem Toot Your Own Horn mashes platoon hollers, a runaway drumline, and a marching band riff even Timbaland would be proud of.
As always, the Lytics’ much-lauded lyrical skills remain worthy of the hype. The languid delivery on display in The Sequel is offset by fractured vibraphone runs, and the retro vibe of On Top is enhanced by a funk-rock keyboard riff and falsetto flourishes. But in all cases, the beats get equal billing: witness the blaxploitation-tinged Charles Bronson — all pimp rolls and ‘70s swagger — or the stop-start rhythms of Drown Me Out, whose frenetic pace gives way to a truly triumphant chorus.