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The Golden Seals

Increase the Sweetness

(The Zunior Label; US: 6 Sep 2011; UK: 6 Sep 2011)

Simple joyful pop songs

The Golden Seals leaves its most obvious influences unnamed, but if you believe one thing you read today it should be that Increase the Sweetness is the best thing to happen to contemporary pop since Fountains of Wayne and Ben Folds Five made indie-pop cool again. Even when songs like “Woke Up Laughing” take the listener into Death Cab for Cutie territory with off-kilter arrangements, the band proves it can be perfectly logical to eliminate typical pop tempo and pacing in search of something truly memorable.


Meanwhile, “We’re Doing Something Right” is perhaps the best pop hook Ben Folds didn’t write for Rocking The Suburbs.  “I guess we started too late / We should have met when we were young / But now we’re holding on strong / Even though we’re both a little high strung”, Dave Merritt sings, backed by a bare-bones melody built upon quarter-note piano chords, drums and bass. There’s an immediacy and straightforward nature to the music which draws listeners in and makes us feel right at home with these character sketches. “I’m simple and it shows a lot”, Merritt sings on “Half-Life”, but that’s what makes the Golden Seals worth listening to in the first place. The best pop songs are simple joyful nuggets, and Increase the Sweetness hits all the right notes. This one is definitely a keeper.

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Jonathan Sanders writes from Tell City, Indiana, where he lives with his wife Aimee. A 2008 graduate of Ball State's Journalism school with degrees in Magazine Writing / Design and History, Sanders has written extensively for Stereo Subversion, among other online publications. He currently edits "Hear! Hear!", a pop-music centered online blog, and writes for PopMatters and Pajamas Media. He has a voracious appetite for new music, and bristles at the thought that some still believe good music died with [insert band name here.]


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