Hailing from Chicago, IL, the lo-fi garage rock duo, Clearance, has crafted a coming-of-age tale with their Greensleeve EP, recently released via Microluxe Records. The band made their debut back in April of 2013 with the Dixie Motel Two-Step EP, a similarly centered album that showcased the pair's penchant for fuzzy guitar chords and post-graduate malaise. On the pithy Greensleeve, the sentiment remains the same, starting at 'Close Encounter,' and finishing just 13 minutes later with closer, 'Face The Frontier'. Clearance evidences their compositional talents through a healthy array of well-crafted hooks and biting solos, but their greatest strength is found in the narrative that they've created.

The lyricism on Greensleeve is certainly playful, as we see on the album's highlight, 'Drive-Out', in which lead singer Mike Bellis strings together one couplet after the next to give the song a brisk, easy-going tenor. "Set sail/the white whale's singing/like a bell around your neck," he sings. On the surface, it's a lively form, but the rhyme and the rhythm belies Clearance's memoir of heartache and bad habits. This masking technique is later revisited on 'Face The Frontier', where the silliness and intentional cliché which opens the track is quickly brushed aside by more pressing matters. "Why don't you beat your dead horse and hit the hay?/Suffice to say/I think you're gonna crack/Because the deck is stacked against you in another way/you know the other way/it's not coming back," Bellis sings, before abruptly shifting gears and declaring, "But you wanna know the answers to questions of your deepest fears." The song continues in this manner, "dressing down the definition of romance" and the like before the ending's gorgeous breakdown allows all of this tightly coiled angst to completely unravel. In this manner, the band asks questions; they prod at their own beliefs; they come up with nothing and then let everything fall apart. Though not conceptual in nature, the album still comes together with a cohesive yarn: it tells the story that we all go through when trying to figure ourselves out at an early age.

Comparisons to Pavement are inevitable, but writing Greensleeve off as the work of mere imitators is a glib dismissal of the album's heart. Music like this isn't the sole property of Stephen Malkmus or indie rock's other progenitors. It's music that belongs to anyone who has ever been broken up with, frustrated, or aimless. It's music that knows what it's like to be in your 20s: tossed around, tired, angry, fucked up, insensible. There are myriad ways in which the album's formal and material qualities make this anxiety palpable; no single band has a patent on these methods.

However, complaints about the album's brevity are valid. Certain tracks beg for more exploration, namely, 'She's A Peach', which cuts out just as it begins to pick up steam. Clearance doesn't waste a second with their music, but their unwillingness to elaborate can be frustrating at times.

Still, even if the album is spare in length, its resonance will outlast the actual material. Every regret and mistake you've ever made is packed away in this album. With Greensleeve, Clearance has made a soundtrack for the morning-after that we wish would never come.