Herzog’s second album, Cartoon Violence, expands the alt-rock sound of their debut Search. They’re not taking any big risks, but the Cleveland rockers manage to find a few other influences beyond Pavement to work into their songs.
The band’s comparisons to Pavement got labeled them slacker rock, but singer Nick Tolar doesn’t have the trademark disaffection. In fact, he sounds more like Conor Oberst than Stephen Malkmus. Cartoon Violence definitely sounds like ‘90s rock, though — think Apples in Stereo, Built to Spill, and Weezer. New lyricist Tony Vorell covers some dark subject matter in songs like “Fuck This Year” and “Your Son Is Not a Soldier,” but Herzog never turns down their level of pop. Some of the melodies and guitar hooks are inescapably catchy.
Cartoon Violence is nothing new, but it’s a fun ’90s-style pop-rock record.
(Exit Stencil Recordings, 159 Newel Street Apt. 4R, Brooklyn, NY 11222)