As the ship begins to sink in James Cameron’s Titanic, the band comes out to play for its doomed passengers. This somber musical moment kicks off the film’s 48 th scene. It’s an interesting thing to title a gymnastic power pop song after, especially when the energy fueling “Scene 48” is more buoyant and vibrant than that fated shipwreck. That’s just how Chicago’s Retirement Party floats its boat, though: melding together the anxious tendencies of growing older with a caffeinated, youthful songwriting approach.
Retirement Party’s debut LP, Somewhat Literate, concerns vocalist/guitarist Avery Springer’s mental health struggles and reluctant transition into adult city living. All signs point to “Jericho” on this quest for personal growth, where a heavy kick drum punctuates a routine dismantled by lost sleep and motivation. “Passion Fruit Tea” finds Springer the author of her own story, with her friends serving as foils in her heroine’s journey to be a full-time musician, with clarity and stability in tow. These revelations pop through in stunning Technicolor. Voracious guitar tones courtesy of Nick Cartwright and James Ringness’ thorny percussion heightens Springer’s headspace to new emotional heights. Retirement Party scores a desire to be better for not just each other, but a wider listening public. As a suburban, hypersensitive answer to an internal monologue, this Midwestern trio has crafted something far more robust and cohesive that they believe. This might just be the tip of the iceberg.