Stewart Bronaugh and Joshua Jaeger are members of Angel Olsen’s backing band who’ve teamed up to make superlative singer-songwriter psych-pop under the name Lionlimb. Their debut album Shoo is one of the most likable, fully realized releases of 2016, one that positions the duo near the forefront of the many modern musicians mining decades-old AM gold. Anyone whose taste skews toward rich chamber-pop arrangements, understated yet infectious hooks, and easygoing grooves will want to further investigate. And starting today, we’re streaming the whole thing ahead of its official release next week.
You can’t hear Shoo without hearing the ghost of Elliott Smith. Bronaugh and Jaeger are obviously inspired by the guy — who isn’t? — but rather than merely mimicking one of the greatest pop songwriters of all time, they nudge his style into new territory, continuing the hi-fi evolution that was happening at the end of Smith’s career. Whereas XO and Figure 8 found Smith exploring stately baroque pop arrangements, Shoo proves last year’s ’70s studio-pop revival is still going strong.
Really, though, the album draws on all kinds of disparate inspiration. Lionlimb themselves have cited everyone from Ameriie to David Bowie. Shoo deep cut “Wide Bed” reminds me of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” infused with the analog pop experiments of the Microphones, and the punchy keyboard ditty “Just Because” is one of the better Steely Dan homages in recent memory. “Lemonade” gives me Summerteeth sensations. It’s just a wealth of good influences being channeled into vibrant, nostalgic music.