The Cherry Orchard’s The Start of Our Affair is one of those breezy pop records that you just want to lose yourself in forever. It’s like bathing in a warm strawberry milkshake with the girl of your dreams on a summer night. It’s like spring picnics, first kisses, and running through, well, cherry orchards. The tunes are perfectly pop—not a power chord in sight. While they are not particulary groundbreaking (anyone paying attention to the recent French pop revival will have heard all this stuff before), their essence and atmosphere are so pure that one does not need to notice. The first track’s chorus is an indication of what is to come: “Wake up, wake up / It’s that summer feeling / Of love,” it sweetly announces. And the majority of songs are indeed about love; gorgeous, pretty tunes, perfect girlfriend mix tape fodder. Perhaps the highest point of the record is “Listening to Nancy,” about listening to Nancy Sinatra. It trumps every previous pop song about pop songs, and is quite literally flawless. Still, it is only the best track by a hair, as others (“Mmm Delicious,” “Starcrossed Lovers,” “World on a String”) are quite great as well.
French-bred Jason and Sara, the duo behind all this, are indeed a pop force to be reckoned with. The musicianship and arrangements are first-rate, the lyrics superb. While Sara is under-used vocally, that is a small complaint about an otherwise impeccable album. Even if one goes into The Start of Our Affair with a chip on one’s shoulder, they will soon find themselves taken in by its bubbly, beautiful sound. Leave your cynicism at the door; there’s no room for it in this Cherry Orchard.