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Social Studies – Developer album review

Two years after the release of their pop-influenced Wind Up Wooden Heart, Social Studies are back with the enticingly somber Developer.

Based in San Francisco, California, the band consists of singer Natalia Rogovin, drummer Michael Jirkovsky, bassist Jesse Hudson, and guitarists Tom Smith and Ben McClintock. In 2007, they recorded their dancey debut EP dubbed This Is the World’s Biggest Hammer and released their first full-length album in 2010, titled Wind Up Wooden Heart. Garnering fans nationwide with their pop-alternative sound, they’ve also had the chance to play at shows such as the CMJ Music Festival and SXSW, as well as sharing stages with acts like TuneYards, Wye Oak and Ramona Falls, to name a few.

Developer—the band’s sophomore effort—was released on November 13th, 2012 on Antenna Farm Records. Co-produced by Eli Crews, Developer is distinctly darker and moodier than previous releases. Along with refocused instruments, Natalia’s vocals also seductively channel the atmospheric change.
“Delicate Hands” diffuses melancholy to infectious guitar riffs before heading into the intense percussions of “Away For The Weekend,” whose catchy lyrics contribute to the tune’s alluringly rebellious vibe. Just as well, “Think Of The Sea” disseminates a gently haunting tone as “Sans” concludes the experience with simple keys that make for an airy, dream-like sound.

As the title indicates, Developer signals the musical changes and progress the band has made, much to the delight of listeners. With the band’s knack for artistic experimentation, there’s little doubting that further developments involving these social studies will be eagerly monitored by many.

By Natacha Pavlov

Natacha Pavlov is an avid reader, writer, and traveler. Aside from eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate from her native Belgium, she can be found consuming large quantities of tea, falafel and lebneh in the lovely Bay Area.

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