Chop Shop Records, 2008
REVIEW BY: Kenny S. McGuane
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/07/2008
It’s been a big year for
Two thousand and eight finally saw the exhaustive re-packaging, re-mastering and re-release of deceased Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s 1977 Cali-pop-manifesto Pacific Ocean Blue, while the far more popular Wilson brother, Brian, released his highly anticipated—and immensely overrated—That Lucky Old Sun. Dead or alive, good or bad, if two records penned by two different Beach Boys come out in the same year, it’s gonna be real hard for any other California-pop outfit to make a splash, so to speak.
Hopefully Los Angeles-based The Little Ones’ debut full-length album Morning Tide won’t be overlooked.
Not that Morning Tide is anything extraordinary, but it’s extraordinarily easy to like. This mostly due to how very obviously unafraid The Little Ones are of making glistening, sparkly, relentlessly upbeat, cheery and optimistic pop music. It’s sometimes sickening when bands take the aesthetic of their music in the opposite direction—dreary, pessimistic, cynical, dark and depressing—only because in a very general sense that seems to be an inauthentic representation of how most people feel; at least most young, white, Western twenty-somethings.
Morning Tide is just plain fun. Lead singer and chief lyricist Edward Reyes pushes his pristine, high-registered voice through a delightful blend of shimmering guitars, goofy synth-pads and perfectly restrained drums. Top all that off with an exemplary production and mix and what you get is a slick-ass pop album that not only does good things for the soul but also makes your stereo sound really good. Title track “Morning Tide” is only barely the album’s highlight because it’s immediately followed by some of the best songs of the year: “Ordinary Song,” “Boracay” and “All Your Modern Boxes.” Eleven tracks in all, Morning Tide is excruciatingly difficult to hate because no matter how nauseating its oozing merriness might be, it’s just done so damn well.
The Little Ones aren’t positioned to be worldwide superstars or anything extravagant like that; nobody really gets that big anymore anyway. But Morning Tide sure is gonna charm the hell out of a whole lot of people. There’s nothing groundbreaking here; it’s just really nice to pick your jaw up off the floor after having read the morning’s dismal news headlines, walk over to the stereo and throw on a record that’ll make you forget just how grim the future looks.