09/04/2012 03:53 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Preview: California Wives', "Art History"

The spectrum of "pop" has broadened considerably in recent years. Affix the word "indie" with a hyphen and you've effectively categorized about 30% of contemporary music. 2012-09-03-California_Wives_Art_Historyfixed.jpeg Given the size of this aural subset, pop musicians wishing to be heard above the general din must typically have either: an imaginative, innovative aesthetic (think Beach House or The Dirty Projectors) or undeniably infectious hooks (think FM radio). Fulfilling neither of these criteria entirely, but hovering pleasantly on the cusp of both are the California Wives, a four-piece Chicago outfit who's first L.P., Art History was released today. Distinguished by moony synth riffs and singer Jayson Kramer's well-mannered angst, Art History manages a sound that is accessible, yet nuanced enough to interest discerning listeners.

Recorded and produced by Claudius Mittendorfer (Interpol, Muse) the album is well paced and maintains a temperate energy throughout. Kramer discussed the benefits of working with Mittendorfer, "I think he believes in many of the things we believe in when it comes to writing a pop song: not overstaying your welcome, making sure that songs flow logically--that at no point do you catch yourself asking 'does that belong?' We really tried to get these songs as streamlined as possible and as efficient as possible, because that's what great pop songs are, they are great exercises in efficiency."

*You can listen to Art History in its entirety here.

**You can listen to an exclusive audio interview with singer Jayson Kramer here.