After a series of EPs, Strawberry Whiplash finally has its full-length debut out with Hits in the Car. It’s an immediately catchy indie-pop album, strong on melodies, with the right amount of fuzz and reverb texturing things up. Given the bright feel of much of the album, the narrative progression might not be as immediately apparent. The disc tracks the life of a romantic relationship in two-and-a-half-minute nuggets. There’s a emotional drain in the album’s second half, but it’s hidden in sugar like “Stop, Look and Listen”, which seems musically in denial (or at least surprise) at the couple’s inevitable future. If it sounds bleak, keep in mind there are only a couple songs that actually sound bleak. And then you can just skip back to a cut like “You Make Me Shine”, one of the gems of the year.
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