Shrug return with their proverbial “White Album”…or perhaps their “Sandanista”. Easy is the New Hard isn’t decidedly Beatlesesque and though The Clash have always been an influence, it doesn’t really sound like their 1980 triple album. Rather, it’s comparable as a stylistically diverse effort that spans multiple sides of vinyl and explores the band’s deepest roots and most adventurous writing. Songwriter/guitarist Tod Weidner clearly enjoyed a major bout of inspiration following the release of 2016’s Age of Ashes, and it’s been captured here.
In truth, it’s still a solid rock album at its core and remains faithful to what the band does best. Fans aren’t going to feel alienated here. However, the influences of glam, psychedelia and Laurel Canyon have never been more evident. As Weidner puts it, “there is a lot of ‘swirl’ on this record.” It’s fun, fresh, instantly classic, and still wholly Shrug.