[16 January 2009]
The Smittens are from Burlington, Vermont; not the first place you think of when you think of indie pop. Yet, The Coolest Thing About Love is one the best indie pop albums in years. It is a well-planned album with great flow. After listening to this album many times, I find something new to love each time: the lyrics, the harmonies, the instrumentation. Though there are five Smittens, the songwriting duties are shared between three members; Dana Kaplan, Max Andrucki, and Colin Clary. Each member contributes something different to the band’s sound. Kaplan’s songs are innocent and wistful, much like the Softies. Andrucki’s contributions are the most literary offerings, similar in sound and style to the Magnetic Fields. Clary’s are perhaps the catchiest and most twee of the bunch.
Highlights are “The Interstate”, “Half My Heartbeats”, “C’mon!” and “Baby Don’t You Know”. The best thing about this band is how different each song is from one another, while still remaining inside the indie pop sub-genre. However, “H&M(+A)”, by Andrucki, really sticks out because it’s the only song not about love, and instead is about what’s wrong with the world today. The band’s theme song “It’s a Saturday!” is one that will get lodged in your brain. The album ends with Kaplan’s doo-wop number “The One For Me”: “You’re the bluest sky through an open door / In our love I’ve never been so sure.” The Smittens have made a truly lovely album.