Saturday Looks Good to Me One Kiss Ends It All (Polyvinyl Recording Co.)
I wish I had time to listen to all the new music that comes my way in a timely manner. Polyvinyl Recording Co. released this Ann Arbor band's One Kiss Ends It All in May, but I didn't get the chance to check it out until this weekend. Better late than never as it's a lovely album filled with chiming guitars and heavenly harmonies—and I mean that literally, since it reminds me of the Oxford outfit Heavenly (I once met them back in my KCMU days, and they were just as charming as you might expect).
Though songwriter Fred Thomas (from His Name Is Alive) serves as the driving force behind the quintet, there's an appealing girl-group sound to their material that offers the same charm as Holly Golightly and Shannon & the Clams, which means that it conjures up visions of floral mini-dresses and white go-go boots.
If some songs take a Phil Spector-like approach to production, others ride on a wave of acoustic guitar and vocals from Carol Catherine and Amber Fellows, at least for moments at a time, as in "New City," which starts off simply before taking on more layers, textures, and levels of complexity (Catherine and Fellows joined in 2012; their predecessor, Betty Barnes, also shows up for a couple of tracks).
When they add horns to the mix, however, it doesn't quite work, but such moments are rare. I usually like brass-embellished pop, but in this case, it adds bold punctuation to their hazy melodies that feels more awkward than edifying. Sometimes I just want to lose myself in an album, and the occasional saxophone blast threatens to kill the vibe like a car alarm bleating in the background. I prefer the feeling of sleeping or dreaming that the rest of the record engenders.
Further, some of the lyrics don't make a lot of sense, like "I feel, I feel, I feel like I can't be wrong, in bed with my sunglasses on." I have no idea what Thomas is going on about in "Sunglasses," but the song is so catchy that it's hard to care.
For almost a decade, Polyvinyl has released fine albums from acts like Sonny & the Sunsets, so I don't mean to disparage them in any way, but I'm little surprised this one didn't appear on Slumberland (though the band, much like Heavenly, has also recorded for K Records). If you share my affection for that label, you'll probably feel the same way about Saturday Looks Good to Me. After five full-lengths, Thomas and Co. have put their indelible stamp on dream pop.
One Kiss Ends It All is out now on Polyvinyl (orig release date: May 21).