THE BREAKUP SOCIETY: Nobody Likes A Winner [Get Hip]

Newspaper writer and music critic Ed Masley—originally from Pittsburgh, now hailing from Phoenix—pens songs akin to those of kindred spirit Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5). Both offer plenty of I’m-a-loser-but-hey-so-are-you tales, spiking any self-flagellation with plenty of insight into everyone else’s pathetic human condition. Fittingly, McCaughey contributes lead vocals to the jangly “By A Thread” here, and it’s a compliment to Masley that the tune would fit perfectly on a YFF or Minus 5 effort. On the sophomore Breakup Society LP, Masley’s tough-and-tender tunes also bring to mind the storytelling of Fountains Of Wayne: “When she was young, he used to bring her flowers,” sings Masley on “13th Angry Man.” (His somewhat thin voice resembles FOW’s Chris Collingwood.) Most material here, though, is usually delivered with a rougher, YFF-y power-pop attack. Masley scores, too, with slower fare such as “This Little Tragedy,” a biting rebuke of someone who needs to get over himself, couched in a soft, gorgeous melody. If it’s true that nobody likes a winner, this album is definitely in trouble sales-wise. But Masley probably knew that going in. []

—Matt Hickey