A few weeks back, I introduced you to the NYC-based indie-pop-rockers Little Person who manage to evoke the stylings of Brian Wilson without sounding like anything other than themselves.
On April 3rd, Little Person released a new EP, I Feel Fine, and Speak Into My Good Eye caught up with the band’s Nicky Weinbach to get a track by track breakdown.
Stream Little Person’s I Feel Fine EP while checking out the band’s dissection of it below and be sure to catch them at Mercury Lounge opening for Said the Whale on April 12th.
“She Loves You”
As the opening track, “She Loves You” sets the genre of the whole EP firmly in place, suggesting, after the first minute or so, which bands were our main sources of inspiration for the album. The song establishes our affinity for chorus guitar and four-part harmonies, both major motifs throughout the record. Most of all, “She Loves You” introduces the idea that Little Person is about melody first. This is a standard by which we write all our music.
Lyrically, the song is concerned with the uneasiness, anxiety, and self-doubt one feels with expressing his romantic intentions and feelings toward a loved one. “Playing it cool” seems to consistently be on the narrator’s mind, but he’s an unreliable narrator, so by the end of the song, we don’t really trust the lesson he’s trying to teach.
“Send Me Your Nots”
This may be the most 60s sounding of all the songs on the EP: it’s the shortest track with a happy swing and a classic pop horn section backing up a chorus of male and female singers. The Turtles may have been an influence for this track’s production. It has a rockin’ guitar solo, too, imbuing the song with a certain edginess.
The song’s lyrics suggest a narrator who’s infatuated with a girl who never notices him; she probably doesn’t even know who he is, and she may not be the most wholesome girl either. It’s a little creepy, but the lyrics are up for interpretation. The listener can decide.
During the recording of this track, we decided to go all out and add four-part harmony to almost every song on the EP. We thought, “Why limit ourselves? We know a lot of theory. We know jazz. Plus, we’re recording and producing this thing ourselves.” So, we just went for it.
We like to think of this song as Michael Franks meets Joanna Newsom meets Bart Davenport meets the Smiths meets the Beach Boys. Really, there’s a lot of influences on this track, but we didn’t set out, originally, to sound like any of them; it just came out that way.
The song might be the most rhythmically complicated track on the EP, but it’s sure fun to play. Lyrically, the song is about Nicky’s laziness and boredom during the summer after we graduated from college: he was vegging out in Los Angeles, but, at one point, he knew the need to start pursuing his artistic endeavors full force.
The ethereal bridge section contains some purposefully vague lyrics, but if you pay closer attention, you may just understand what they’re saying.
“I Feel Fine”
Max sings lead on this one, and the delicacy and honesty of his voice really come through in the track’s mix of insistence and melancholy. “I Feel Fine” is one of our more ambitious recordings on the EP. It’s all Max on acoustic guitar pretty much for the track’s first full verse save for a couple chorus guitar strums from Nicky.
The song starts off pretty subdued, even when the rest of the band comes in. There’s a bit of an airy, pensive groove to it, which starts building dynamically in the song’s second section, motivating a change.
The bridge is what we like to call the “break down”. The tempo gradually speeds up as more and more instruments (violins included) and vocal harmonies add to the “Wall of Sound” eventually produced. By the time the cello comes in, the track is really driving and the lyrics are more hopeful. But, after this middle section, we’ve come full circle: the tempo returns to it’s slower, solemn vibe, and the lyrics are, once again, sober reflection.
“Solemn Is the Only Word”
Funnily enough, Nicky wrote this song while marathoning 80s hit TV series Family Ties. It’s the only one that doesn’t contain vocal harmonies, perhaps to reinforce the song’s lyrical content. The same themes from “Somebody Said” are at play in this song except, this time, the idea of solitude and loneliness replaces laziness. The narrator is somewhat more vengeful and possesses a certain sense of entitlement.
By the end of the song, it’s his thought of what he deserves that will help him escape his depressed state, which is a depressing thought in and of itself. Nicky’s favorite drum lick on the whole EP drives this song, and there’s a certain mellow but consistent groove that the bass develops.
This song is nice to just sit back and relax to and sort of sets us up for the breezy, summer pop vibe of the EP’s final track.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: this might be our favorite track on the EP. We spent the most time on the song’s production out of any recording on the album, and it might just be our most ambitious track, yet. It’s also the tune that we dance and sing along to the most. We really decided to go all out with this one, adding violins (thanks to Anton Patzner), saxophones, trumpets, organ, shaker, and any instrument we knew how to play, even hand claps and snaps.
Nicky wrote this song almost seven years ago, but, back then, it was way more of a bossa nova type song. We had no idea it would become a sunny, surf pop tune with a strong connection to the Beach Boys. The songs starts off as fun pop rock and, soon enough, four-part harmony permeates throughout. A hint of our late 1950s sensibilities comes out in the choruses with all the “shoo-bop, shoo-bop[s]”.
This song also contains a drastic tempo and time signature change. Initially, the song is about the idea of a “perfect girl”, who constantly eludes the narrator; he thinks that she basically doesn’t exist as feelings of unhappiness, “resentment”, and “hate” fill his mind.
However, the track’s climactic middle section makes a strong case that a “perfect girl” does exist, but the main character just can’t recognize it. During the song’s final verse, our main character begins to realize his ignorance and, finally, becomes aware of “all those perfect girls around.” The chorus vamps and fades out, and we end the record on a happy note.