There’s a line you can draw between the sophomore album by Ypsilanti, Michigan’s Lightning Love and the Velvet Underground’s"I’m Sticking with You”. That VU song is particularly twee, with just Maureen Tucker’s wavy voice, a piano and largely coy lyrics – there’s a reason why the song showed up in the über-cute teen pregnancy movie Juno. Well, Lightning Love take the formula brought to the fore on “I’m Sticking with You” and essentially milk it for 10 songs on their Blonde Album. That means you get a whole whack of songs played on piano about love and heartbreak, sung by a woman (Leah Diehl) whose voice soars into the stratosphere, that are so sweet you could reach out and squeeze them by their rosy red cheeks. There’s even a bit of an effort to make a suite as the songs from “Together” to “Awkward” run together. And there are attempts to change up the formula, and quite successfully I might add, by going into geeky datarock with synthesizers on “Deadbeat”.
The thing is, some of these songs seem a little half-baked, as though they were pulled from the oven before they were truly ready to be trotted out in front of an audience. You can particularly finger “Bobby Thompson”, which, while a bit of a scorching indie rocker (making it a bit heavier than anything else on the disc), features over-repeated lyrics, as though the band only had a small handful of things to say with the song. Still, Blonde Album is quietly appealing in its own twee and cutesy way, sort of like Kimya Dawson without the infatuation with bodily fluid and acoustic guitar. It’s a bit repetitive, but there’s some standouts on the album, such as “Deadbeat” and “Our Love Is All Gone”. And you have to admit that there are attempts to make the album meticulously constructed, even if it does feel a little flung together at times. If you’re the type of person who likes looking in young girls’ diaries for coy and cutesy secrets, and like hearing music with high-pitched female vocalists yearning and pining over lost loves, Blonde Album is a record worth sticking with.