Memphis by The Magic Kids
Memphis might be the ‘happiest’ album of the year. Seems like it was released a little too late. May have been more effective around April/May. As a whole it sounds kind of like a mix between Jens Lekman, The Beach Boys and Sesame Street. At more than a few moments it becomes nauseatingly sweet. Not surprising if you have ever heard the group interviewed. They kind of seem like some creepy brightly dressed cult. All in all, Memphis is way too sugary sweet for me to listen to in it’s entirity but it does have a few promising hooks and vocal arrangements.
Cry With Me Baby
Memphis 2.5 out of 5
I’m Having Fun Now by Jenny and Johnny
Boy girl, (m)Alt-stream, hipster duo sure to draw comparisons to ‘She and Him’, but probably not that justified. The Jenny Lewis fronted group is a little more rock n’ roll and a little less cutesy. “Big Wave” is an airy gem of a pop rock tune, and easily the most ‘inspired’ track on the album. Other songs like “Knowledge of Good and Evil” offer a fun vaguely retro brand of rock. As expected though most of the album is more sweet than edgy. Bouncy but not groundbreaking.
I’m Having Fun Now 3 out of 5
Mines by Menomena
The first song I heard off of ‘Mines’ was ‘Taos’, an Audioslavesque vocally driven rock opus. It’s the type of universally appealing rock jam that is easy to imagine being chopped up in some ESPN highlight. One of the better songs of the year in my opinion. While the rest of the albumis tightly produced and lead singer Justin Harris maintains the high bar that he set for himself on Taos, I couldn’t help but just want the band to explode with enthusiasm more often as they had done in the single. Some really solid tracks like ‘Oh Pretty Boy, You’re Such a Big Boy’ and ‘Five Little Rooms’ could’ve become top notch if they actually ever actually reached the high point in their seemingly endless (but enjoyable) crescendo.
Five Little Rooms
Mines: 3 out of 5
Floating Action – Floating Action
Floating Action brings us a nice unpretentious blend of ‘rough around the edges’ beach rock. This can be pretty hard to do without beating listeners over the head with tired inauthentic reggae influences. In short, they avoid sounding like they would be on the playlist at your local Pac-Sun, while sounding more like good music for a noonish beer at some open air bar in Key Largo. Try to imagine if ‘Sonny and the Sunsets’ went on a tropical vacation. Then you could get a feel for this album. I can understand that music like this might be too ‘chill’ for certain people, especially as we leave summer behind and head into winter. But unlike a lot of ‘bare-foot’ jam bands, I actually tend to believe these guys.
Floating Action: 3.5 out of 5