Sunday 13 April 2014

Pop Tapes: The Lemons / Chalk & Numbers

A former member of a famous indie group once sneered at me "You're so nice I bet you fart daisies" during an interview.  That sure showed me.  Yeah!  That put-down bubbled to the surface again while listening to Chicago's soda shop pop kids, The Lemons.  They're just so relentlessly upbeat and smiling and concerned with sweeties and kids' stuff.  Undoubtedly their music will be too saccharine for most but Not Unloved has never shied away from perky, wholesome pop music if it's made with the right spirit; we're not all leather clad rock'n'roll beasts after all.  Their brief songs - most of them make "Velocity Girl" look like a prog epic - have the same zest (ha!) for life as The Magic Kids or The Langley Schools Music Project.  Sometimes an escape from the grey drudgery of the adult world is much needed.  Their "Hello, We're The Lemons" tape (Gnar Tripp) comes with a sticker and a download code*.

Much less sherbet-fuelled but no less catchy are Brooklyn's Chalk and Numbers.  Theirs is a sophisticated take on classic beehive-haired jukebox pop.  The songs on Soft Power Records' "Cassette Compilation" are wrought from the chrome fixtures and gingham tablecloths of a million American diners.  All six are foot-tappers.  "I Really Wanna Work This Out", however, is the real beauty here; think Denise James tackling a recently unearthed Beach Boys demo.

Chalk and Numbers aren't taking pop music anywhere new but that doesn't matter a jot when the songs are this good - see also Summer Twins.  Time to watch "Grace Of My Heart" again, I reckon.

Both tapes were released earlier in 2014 but seem to make more sense now that there's the odd shaft of springtime sunlight to bump up the optimism.

* Brits can save on the postage by purchasing from Very Gun Records.

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