Most pop music is designed to make you move, not think. A beat, a melody, a few words you've heard before, and you've got your three or four minutes of easy gratification. Spokane's Lavoy follows this formula, but also tends to reach for ambitious artistic goals, which they don't always achieve.
You can hear earlier songs from the band online, many of which are spacey in a way that doesn't quite capture attention. In "Dig," the march of a snare drum leads to a shoegazey chorus that never reaches its potential for being memorable. Another, the upbeat and earnest "Smile," starts to show improvement in the band's style. It's a good segue into Lavoy's EP, Foolproof Plan, a tighter set of songs and a well-produced effort.
Of the three-song EP, now streaming on SoundCloud, "Learn Who You Are," with its fast drums and foot-tapping chorus, is easily the most realized. It has a Postal Service feel for its choice of styles and effects. Lacking, however, is Ben Gibbard's lyrical command. Lavoy seems to be going for simple synth-pop, but the musicians prove their instrumental talent is better than that. Basic lyrics just won't cut it atop occasionally complex structures. If the band decides to do a full album, stronger storytelling will make it rise above other pop releases.
Lavoy plays Stage 112 on Friday, Jan. 3, at 8 PM, and the Palace on Sat., Jan. 4 at 9 PM. Both shows free.