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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Flops
Ooh La La
Mock Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I think I have fulfilled my nerd quotient for today: I've got my predominantly orange striped polo shirt, my matching orange sunglasses, my socks with rubber duckies on them, and I'm going on a work outing after lunch to play mini-golf with my co-workers (rest assured, I get the orange ball). I've tossed a number of Simpsons quotes into morning conversations, and I can probably call it a day.

Putting in Ooh La La from the Flops works best in when this dorky, self-affirming mood. In fact, I can guarantee that it plays on those same tendencies and makes lets me indulge them even more. John Munson and Matt Wilson were both members of Trip Shakespeare (remember them?), and Munson is part of the "Closing Time" phenom, Semisonic. If you don't see the correlation to geekiness yet, imagine a hybrid of extremely literate pop and dueling acoustic guitars. There you have The Flops, kings of cult-like followings, intelligent literary references and time-tested hooks.

On one hand, whenever an acoustic guitar meets tangled heartstrings, the result seems to ooze. Ooh La La does seep in moments, the hearts of two seasoned popsters worn uniformly on tattered denim jackets. "Deep All the Way Down" hints at this, a little too solemn and dry to make for a convincing opener, but a welcome reintroduction nonetheless. Knowing the wealth of brain, talent, and sensibility possessed by these two men, nothing could halt their due momentum.

To be certain, the album opens up immediately from there, channeling an old Trip Shakespeare song, "Two Wheeler, Four Wheeler" in all its raucous country glory. The harmonica, steady pacing, and delectability pay off as a reminder of their songwriting skills; and as with any live album, the fans that came to witness the rebirth of these songs are duly appeased. Those young men still play up their talents well, and thankfully, their fans are still pining to hear it.

"The Trick" is another highlight, this time placing the emphasis squarely on the proficiency of their playing. Careful picking leads to shyly whispered vocals, and shares a feeling of intimacy brought back by a former love, which is exactly what The Flops will mean to their devotees. More than anything, Ooh La La is a love letter to those fans, ready for them to acquire and appreciate. The rest of us can admire it from a small distance, but it is really a gift to those who will fully be grateful for it. As the audience brings a final round of applause, the album has been put to a good and loving use.

Trying to pour excess amounts of feeeeeling into pop is very easily overdone, as a fun sound can counteract weepy lyrics. The Flops have avoided this problem on the whole, having slowed things down and employed a more autumnal, earthy noise with prudently clipped lyrics. Thankfully, their employment of acoustics is warranted by such able discretion and skilled, tempered collaboration. Their personal intelligence is the other winning factor, as is evident by the release's true gem, a second disc interpretation of a Sam Magavern novel set to their music. Described as a tale of two friends who fall in, out, and back in love with the same two women, the feeling is echoed by the duo's return: weaving through other projects, stardom, and back to hole-in-the-wall clubs rife with familiarity, the set ends on an up-note of having been found again.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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