(Munich MRCD220)Newsgroups: uk.music.alternative
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 11:44:36 +0100
I’ve had this album now for about three months and as much as I loved its powerpop hooks on first listening, it’s only improved with exposure. You can find info about the band here:
The first track, ‘Catch & Release’, is a storming, riff-driven opener. It sounds, as does much of this album, like a lost track off TFC’s ‘Bandwagonesque’ but more…um..American.
‘I’m Here’ is simply *lovely*. It’s an acoustic guitar chug, with a bobbling happy bassline, huge handclaps and stacked harmonies. It’s got a lolloping, summery groove to it and a hugely infectious melody. This is one I’ve found myself singing walking round town. Honestly, if you’ve *ever* loved any guitar pop, you’ll love this.
And that holds true for this album as a whole. Yes, elements of it could be accused of being retro but the songs here rise above that. They’re concise and precise, there’s no self-indulgent jazz odysseys here, just distilled pop.
‘Forever Is Not So Long’ is a two minute fucking gem of a song. From the opening guitar riff, I was hooked. My head started nodding and I wanted to know the words to sing along. This is the kind of pure pop that many C86 bands tried to attain but failed miserably at. Not that The Bigger Lovers are C86, they’re more Todd Rundgren than The Pooh Sticks… and damn proud of it. This song will be one of my future favourites and is definitely gonna appear in many comps I do for mates. Hell, if you don’t like this song, you probably don’t like pop music.
‘Threadbare’ is another stormer… and I’m checking the album and it’s only number 7! The songs are so strong on this that I’m continually thinking ‘ah, this must be a strong one they’ve saved for the end.’ But no, they’re all little poppy wonders. Again, if pop’s your taste, that’s good but if you’re a Wire reader you’ll probably find this dreadfully un-trendy and not ‘challenging’ enough, whatever the fuck that means.
I’m guessing that The Bigger Lovers are Monkees fans cos ‘America Undercover’ is like the great-grandson of ‘DW Washburn’ but with references to ‘come-stained dresses’ which they probably couldn’t have gotten away with in the sixties.
‘Summer (Of Our First Hello)’ is another tune made for pretty girls in convertibles. It’s piano-led this time, with a dreamy whispering verse vocal that resolves into a leaping chorus, complete with backing ‘ba-ba-baas.’ Good.
If anyone remembers Red Kross, The Bigger Lovers have a similar poppyness but they’re far more consistent and less metal. They’ve got the same roots of bubblegum pop and Byrdsy harmonies. The closer, ‘Out Of Sight’ goes further into country-folkdom than the rest of the album and does it beautifully. Shimmering slide geetar dovetails with a wobbling organ and yearning vocals.
One thing I’ve missed talking about so far is the lyrics. This is cos I’m still thrown by the music but that’s not to say that the lyrics are bad – there’s some lovely imagery on here, of summertime and wasted youth and ‘precious oils from New Zealand.’ I’m just still at the singing along stage rather than the making sense bit 🙂
Buy this album if you’ve ever loved The Monkees, Todd Rundgren, Big Star, Teenage Fanclub or being alive and feeling the sun on your face. Don’t buy it if you’re looking for cutting-edge sound design to impress your mates with,
love and kisses,