Clean and up

Laptop pop was a logical extension of late 60s anglo pop, and Manwomanchild starts to turn the circle back. These songs have that bouncy Monkees/"happy" Beatles feel imported into an almost clinically clean sound. But there are also some fine intruders (80s indie pop guitar, proggy key changes) that add depth.

Awkward Island
(West Cortez)
The calling card here is precision, which fits both the laptop and 60s sounds. David Child makes sure that his band sounds exactly so. And so there's not a lot of emotion dripping out of the music. In fact, the playing and production is utterly dry.

Think New Pornographers, and you have an idea of the sound. But these songs are much less wiggy and more conventional. The hooks are pretty and often witty, which brings to mind early Bowie. In fact, there's a real debt to Ziggy Stardust, even down to the use of strings, even if they're ersatz on this set.

Not particularly profound, but often lovely and sometimes even beautiful. If this doesn't hit you right in the summer spot, you haven't been sitting in the sun long enough.

Jon Worley

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