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All Your Summer Songs

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Tracklist

Mitwirkende

Rezension

Even though the largely emo-based Polyvinyl Records doesn't seem like the most natural home for Saturday Looks Good to Me's winsome, nostalgic pop, the undeniable emotional pull and heartfelt delivery of Fred Thomas and company's music makes it a better fit than one might expect. All Your Summer Songs, the group's fifth album and Polyvinyl debut, is another triumph, expressing the complexities of being in and out of love with deceptively naïve music and lyrics that are wise beyond their years. While Motown, Phil Spector, and the Beach Boys still exert a strong influence on Saturday Looks Good to Me's sound -- especially on "Alcohol" and "Ultimate Stars" -- the band explores an entire bandwidth of AM radio moments, ranging from the "Itchycoo Park" drum fills on "Meet Me by the Water"; the Peter & Gordon-esque acoustic guitars on "No Good with Secrets"; and the Byrdsy jangle of "You Work All Weekend," which sounds like said band backing the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt. And while Thomas has as much reverence for -- not to mention ability to create -- a perfectly written two-and-a-half-minute pop song as Merritt does, his music sounds fresher and less contrived despite its retro allusions. Indeed, aside from pleasing record collectors and oldies geeks, the reconfiguration of sounds past that makes up Saturday Looks Good to Me's style gives their music a timeless yet fresh feel that also has an instant familiarity. "Caught" and "Typing" (which also includes the priceless lyric "You spent such a long time typing/That you forgot how to write letters") are twinkling pop confections ready for cameos on the soundtrack to a Wes Anderson movie, while "Underwater Heartbeat" casts singer Erika Hoffmann as a lovelorn mermaid. Along with Hoffmann, All Your Summer Songs also features indie luminaries and long-time SLGTM auxiliary members like Ted Leo, Dan Littleton, Matthew Smith, Karla Schickele, and Jessica Bailiff, although Thomas himself sings the album's most painfully intimate songs, such as "The Sun Doesn't Want to Shine" and the title track's slow-motion breakup lament. Even so, a wistful feeling pervades even the album's most upbeat moments; songs that start out bright and bouncy often end with a sigh. Sonically, the album is slightly more polished than the band's earlier works, but not by much; though "Ambulance," one of their best songs, appears in a cleaner, lusher version here, the album was still recorded mostly on four-track and still features the abrupt starts and stops and interludes that give the group's work a dreamy, stream-of-consciousness feel. Ultimately, All Your Summer Songs is quintessential Saturday Looks Good to Me, which should delight old and new fans of the band alike. ~ Heather Phares