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Better Days

(Fonda Music; US: 6 Jun 2011; UK: import)

Fonda, who made their name in the dream-pop world in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s—including a big Disney radio hit with “Spy Kids”, from the Robert Rodriguez movie of the same name—have emerged after an eight-year absence with Better Days. The EP is a brief return for main players David Klotz and Emily Cook, who backed away from Fonda to raise their family and work on other projects, and it mostly finds them picking up where they left off. These songs are hazy and sweet, as steeped in twee brightness as they are sonic shoegaze heft. “In the Coach Station Light” is a brisk, solid number that floats along on airy keys, while closer “My Heart is Dancing” is the best tune here, refashioning their lush sound to a power-pop crunch. The trouble, though, is that the pair doesn’t scratch any new itches with these songs. They fall somewhere between Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, but they rarely make their own space here. The gauzy vocals melt into the songs, and all those keys swirl in sweet ways, but that swirl is awfully familiar at this point. Fonda can still deliver a solid dream-pop sound on Better Days, but they also don’t really add anything new to the mix.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

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