Cold Sheets is the debut EP from Austin’s Americana pop duo The Roosevelts, comprised of James Mason on guitar and lead vocals and Jason Kloess on guitar. They were most recently seen showcasing at SXSW and selling out shows at Lamberts on 2nd Street in recent months to eager new fans excited by the duo’s earnest and energetic adult contemporary songs.
The pervasive gripe about adult contemporary (think The Fray, Vertical Horizon, The Verve Pipe or Hootie and the Blowfish – all touchstones for The Roosevelts’ sound) is that it’s too gracious, too polite and predictable, and The Roosevelts occasionally succumb to that cheesiness associated with this genre. “Everybody Knows” acts as the effervescent centerpiece of the EP – and is most likely going to become their first single. There is a laid back, but rehearsed feel to most of it that – I’d guess – allows the song to come to life when played live. The way they describe themselves as “just a runaway chasing the west coast dream” in the penultimate track, “California,” makes me imagine that there’s more to Jason Kloess and James Mason than just country ballads about love, loss, and regret.The Roosevelts - 'Right Here'
My favorite track was “Right Here”, a song that I couldn’t help but smile to, despite knowing exactly how I could critique it (overly sentimental and relies too heavily on Mason’s vocals alone). When Mason’s voice rises to the chorus with the lyrics “I need your arms around me one more time / we had it all in our hands” it catches you in the stomach. (In this moment his voice is almost as distinct as Nate Ruess [The Format/fun.], and in time I don’t doubt he’ll have as much control over it too). The chorus erupts with “but we were too young to know / too hard to show / that everything you want and need / is right here at your feet.” Sweet, singable, and catchy – its hard not to like this song if you have a soft spot for country-ish pop and wistful ballads.
The Roosevelts are not necessarily pushing boundaries with their music, nor are they a band that critics (the many, much harsher critics than myself) will smile upon. They are something cheesy that I would have unabashedly loved when I was 14, and I like them still for the same reason I like Taylor Swift. They aren’t innovative but they’re fun. The Roosevelts have something hidden up their plaid sleeves. Maybe its their country pop sound or their catchy rhythms. Maybe its their charm. But either way, some people will always enjoy the timeless sound of adult contemporary music, and Cold Sheets offers a country-tinged version of that.
Catch The Roosevelts’ CD Release Party for Cold Sheets at Stubbs tonight, May 3rd at 9pm.
– Bailey Cool