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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
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Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
I Hope You're Feeling Better Now
Eenie Meenie Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Pop music is becoming ever more ubiquitous - bands are springing up everywhere, proudly letting their "ooh's" and "aaaah's" ring forth, no shame in their game. They love the Beatles, they love the Zombies and they love more recent pop conspirators like the Elephant 6 collective, Green and Yellow TV and Beachwood Sparks. But let's be clear here - yes, this is pop music, but it isn't tin can manufactured cookie cutter crap. For all its bubblegum tendencies, there is often heart and soul and a softly creative underbelly that brings buoyancy to bands in a sea of anchor rock. Irving is such a band, based in Los Angeles, who keep it light and spry in their pop music leanings.

Their new five song EP, I Hope You're Feeling Better Now, starts off with lazy guitar strums under "La-la's" of the opening track, "The Curious Thing About Leather." Before long though, a wash of distortion and fuzz sweeps the soundscape, but this is just a precursor to the melodic pop that makes up the brunt of the song. And finally, just to show you that they can get all arranged and shit, the song commences with big chamber-pop around the six-minute mark. Six minutes, that's not pop, is it? Well, in this case, yes it is. "White Heat" replaces the "L's" with "B's" and rings forth "Ba-ba-ba-ba" over a very "Paperback Writer" fuzzy guitar line. Irving is getting their point across by this point.

The band's move down state from Chico to Los Angeles several years ago seems to have given their musical disposition the sunshine they were looking for, but that doesn't stop them from a lil' experimentation. Is that a drum machine opening "I Can't Fall in Love"? Why yes it is. This ode to romantic travails during a foggy Silverlake morning finds one of the members (they all sing) waxing pop sentimental through tinny microphone production sounds, to interesting effect. And finally, "Please Give Me Your Heart, Is All I Need" emerges in a thrashed out blaze of punk energy with Niki Colk of Kaito loosely vocalizing unintelligible but catchy riffs.

Irving has created five songs of frilly, light, catchy pop and there should be no guilt about it. I Hope You're Feeling Better Now is more than a diversion and less than an inspiration, fitting snugly into the space it's meant to occupy in your music library.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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