Ants Victory Side

Chad Bryan comes from Kansas, which is probably where he gets his twangy vocal tinge, which is where he and his friends hang around, playing with words and making simple lo-fi indie rock songs about the meaning of life and living it. He’s got a delicate approach and aesthetic that seems to explain purpose and intent as necessary; he’s just doin’ it because that’s what he does. It’s no surprise to learn that Victory Side is on a Chicago-based label, because Bryan must be Bobby Burg’s (of Chicago’s the Love of Everything) long-lost brother. They’ve got the same out-of-tune-and-lovely-for-it croon and a similar hankerin’ for whimsical moments, but his holds a dusty, country edge that finds him strumming a mandolin like a porch-sittin’ local or alternately rocking out on electric guitar. It’s breezy day-time music; the kind that’d sound out of place on a dramatic, hazy night. If you don’t believe that heart and soul can make up for less-than-tight musicianship and production sheen, then this will becoming irritating very quickly. But if you let sloppy translate to endearing, you’ll be singing along with Chad by at least the sixth track, "Raindrops,” just like he asks. (Sickroom)