Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Looks Good To Me - Fill Up the Room

Pop music contains a long line of “cracked” geniuses, artists who take the simple structure of a pop song and find creative ways to invert them without losing their hummability. Brian Wilson’s post-Pet Sounds output is the obvious touchstone, but more recent artists like the Microphones have created lofi headphone pop that leads the listener into a scattered but transcendental head space.

With Fill up the Room Fred Thomas has officially laminated his membership card for this very special club. Previous Saturday Looks Good to Me albums were full of instantly likeable retro pop, but this time around finds each of Thomas’s tunes overflowing with different ideas pulling in every direction.

The album opener, “Apple,” uses a doo-wop chord progression as a jumping off point as it builds into a symbol crashing barroom sing-along. The hyperactive strumming of “When I Lose My Eyes” perpetually sounds like it’s on the verge of collapse yet manages to sustain its momentum for nearly 7 minutes. Buzzing spy movie guitars prevent “Make a Plan” from sounding like the otherwise simple folk pop that falls behind them. The albums only track not sung by Thomas, “Hands In the Snow,” uses Betty Marie Barnes’s sweet voice to contrast the fuck off message of the lyrics.

With a move to K Records and a less immediate sound, Saturday Looks Good to Me may lose some fans but are poised to connect with many more. This is the kind of album that leaves me to wonder, “What’s next?”

Saturday Looks Good To Me - When I Lose My Eyes

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