Review Summary: It might not do much that's new or exciting, but Sit Resist proves that music doesn't need to be inventive to be, in all of the ways that matter, truly brilliant.
My first listen of Sit Resist was a curious one. I enjoyed everything that I was hearing a fair amount, but I didn’t really understand why it was getting the levels of praise that I had seen across the internet, this very site being one of its main supporters. On my second listen, however, everything changed. And, most importantly, everything clicked. I was listening out for something to blow me away, something to redefine my expectations of what the tired genre of indie rock could do. But this is completely the wrong approach to the album. Sit Resist isn’t trying to be the ‘next big thing,’ in music, or even in its genre; what it is, to me at least, is a superb refinement of what makes a good indie rock album. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing particularly new or exciting, but everything it does do is all but perfect.
Now, that might sound like a mightily lofty claim, but Sit Resist is just the kind of quiet success that deserves such hyperbole being thrown around in its favour. The album begins suitably unassumingly with the simple guitar riff of Halloween Parts 1 & 2. The guitar line is pleasing, basic and without any unnecessary flourishes, and sets the tone for the overall feel of the whole album. Then Stevenson’s voice is added into the mix, and the one exceptional facet of the album is revealed. Ms. Stevenson really does have one of the most gorgeous voices in indie music at the minute, and she shows excellent restraint, with acrobatics only present when it actually adds to the song, coupled with her too-sweet-to-be-true tone to begin with.
And even though Stevenson’s voice is the only thing that really sets the album apart from the pack in any significant way, every single song here is still great, proving that one doesn’t have to be as inventive as the Radioheads or the Tune-Yards of the world to release a fully enjoyable album. The varied instrumentation adds some surprises into the mix, with the accordions of The Healthy One, and the horns of Barnacles, helping to keep the sound of the album varied, even if the basic musical style remains the same.
And the happiest thing about Sit Resist is that it absolutely doesn’t need to be inventive at all to succeed. It’s perfectly content to sit (ha) right where it is, and to refine every idea that it incorporates, as recycled as most of them are, to the point of being almost entirely pleasing to the listener. The lyrics are good, if not excellent, and are by turns euphoric, ironic, depressing and nostalgic, often all at once. The most inventive moment comes in two tracks named The Wait and The Weight, where the titular homophones are used cleverly. But again, Sit Resist doesn’t need any pretentious poetry in its words to get across to the listener what it wants to. What it does, instead, is reaffirm that there’s always room, in the hectic world of new indie releases, for a comforting little release that’s content to be exactly what it is, unremarkable or otherwise.