by Kris Handel (@khandel84)
I Want to Live Here Forever is the third full length from Sam Bevet and Ben Chugg, the primary members of Little Slugger, fleshed out as a 5 piece with a little help from various friends. Bevet and Chugg lay out the struggles of overcoming the dissolution of relationships and the ups and downs that come along for a ride here, with flourishes of stinging horns and swirling atmospheres. Little Slugger add a heavy-hearted emotion to their power-pop colored songs with little moments of regret and disillusion mixed in with the awareness of a brighter day around the corner. Bevet bares everything he has in his vocal performances that are matched by the likes of Liz Stafford and Chugg who play the foil on various occasions.
“Impossible” starts off with blooping keyboards and Bevet crooning over palm muted guitar which builds into a juddering powerful pop barrage with sweet harmonies. Little Slugger chug along varying tempo and volume which builds a little bit of tension and drama, lending itself well to Grayson Webb’s soaring guitar solos and the billowing keyboards. “Baltimore” is a tale of attempting to find a new place to recover and reconnect as well as put distance between parties with a loping structure punctuated by blasts of persistent trumpet and thumping drums. Bevet reflects on a period filled with sadness and longing, yet with a hope that a new environment can help ease the load and provide comfort.
“Storm” is a cloudy and moody piece of downtrodden - slight early REM like - new-wave discordance powered by sharp guitar lines and distortion provided from atmospheric keyboards. Guitars slice and weave through a constant rumble and noisy upheaval that highlights a flurry of emotion and raging atmospheres. “The Morning” follows moodily but with a stuttering bit of post-punk rhythms with Bevet deadpanning a tale of avoidance and non-communication as Stafford chirps and answers forcefully in the background providing a nice contrast. Here the rhythm section really connects as bass swoops along and dances around jittery drumming that heightens the tension and anxiety in the songwriting.
With I Want to Live Here Forever, Bevet and Chugg get to exorcise some demons and negativity while searching for answers in pursuit of happiness yet to come. Little Slugger have created a varied record that details many highs and lows in a relatable and endearing fashion that runs a gamut of emotions. There is a lot of craft in this record and everyone involved hold very little of themselves back and it shows in the performances filled with passion and precision. This is a record with a lot of force behind it and leaves nothing to chance in examining the pitfalls of romance as well as taking lessons from the heartache and soldiering on, no matter what lays ahead.