The Lush Romantic Weirdness

Italian Japanese

Vampire Media Group, 2009

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The Lush, Romantic Weirdness, is an album as tempting as its title. It might not actually be as poetic as the title makes it sound like, but this disc has the pizzazz of its title and is groovy in all the right places, making it a great pop record.

The music on Weirdness is a typical specimen of the prevailing pop-rock scene. However, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Weirdness encompasses a wide range of styles that identify this genre but always yields songs that are immensely enjoyable and hard to get unstuck from your head. The breezy guitars on numbers such as “Minus” and disc’s title track have the touch of the new generation of arena rock championed by Coldplay and U2 (with an added energy designed to make one get up and dance). Lead vocalist Chris McLaughlin has a naturally passionate voice – occasionally resembling Jimi Goodwin of Doves – that doesn’t need to mollycoddle to be yearning or deep.

Weirdness has a relaxed summer day vibe, and the music is never tense or too rushed. Songs like “The Knife,” “Downtown,” and “Le Pony” fit comfortably in the general laidback but high-spirited tempo. However, even though the disc might embrace the idea of being easygoing, the songwriting is always kept tight, never getting soothing of somnolent.

Even with the album’s rather chilled composure, the slower numbers, namely “Polaroid You” and “Paper Tigers,” don’t get too sugary. The melodic arrangements on these cuts are more contemplative than cutesy. Even in this case, as McLaughlin’s vocals muster a more tender tone, they still have the spine not to get mushy or mired in unnecessary sappiness.

With its wonderfully melodic tunes, easiness, and overall uptempo spirit, Weirdness is an ideal pop-rock album. Italian Japanese neither complicates things by even attempting self-fulfilling haughty experimentation, nor do they try to make extra-happy sugar-high pop songs. This is a bunch of smart musicians that knows how to use their collective talent wisely.

Rating: A-

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