On the Verge: The Well-Informed

The Well-Informed traveled from their hometown of Brooklyn to Boston for a day to share what they call Pop revivalism for the record bin romantic.They also refer to their music as post-modern Dixieland standards for the wayward youth and Cuban Missile make-out music. Two of the three band members (Evan Duby, who writes songs and plays bass and guitar, and Paul Loren, who sings and plays keys) had previously been part of a different group. When they both relocated to Brooklyn, they joined together again with vocalist/percussionist Lauren Balthrop to make The Well-Informed.

They spend a lot of time busking in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, honing their live sound. The band also recently released their EP Selections from Everybody Knows, a collection of three songs that act as a sort of mission statement for their brand of optimistic and sunny folk pop. “We wear our influences on our neatly cuffed sleeves,” the band joked during their in-studio performance, citing those influences as pop from the mid-sixties to mid-seventies: Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and the Band. All joking aside, their influences definitely were apparent. They started with “Daddy’s Dime”, the story of a girl who acts much hipper than them all, with witty lyrics poking fun at Lower East Side hipsters: “Those vinyl records on your shelf / Tuition paid at NYU / You trade it for a cheap tattoo”. Acerbic lyrics aside, the chorus of the song felt like a smiling shrug at the subject, with the group harmonizing on a cheerful “doo dah doo” hook that would make a perfect piano-bar singalong. And while making fun of hipsters is a very trendy thing to do for bands from Brooklyn (see also: Santigold’s “L.E.S. Artistes”), these three make it seem fresh and carefree, without any real bite.

The Beach Boys are often cited as an influence on modern indie rock (check out Animal Collective, the Shins, and so many more to hear Brian Wilson’s lasting touch), but The Well-Informed seem to draw more from their most straightforward, clean pop songs, rather than the layered sonic experimentation that inspires some of their peers; that’s not a bad thing by any means. Their second song, “We’re Only Dreaming”, featured a chorus of “We’re gonna be dreaming / Dream of love,” with more sweetly harmonized group vocals,” Oh la-la la la,” as a wash of sound in the background, accompanying a delicate, simple melody. Whatever label they choose for their music, this isn’t just pop for the record bin romantic,but for all listeners who appreciate a song that makes you smile and tap your foot. If they keep up this level of songwriting, The Well-Informed will be done busking on the sidewalk very soon; they’re headed for much bigger venues.

By Ella Zander
Photo by Jeeyoon Kim

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