I’ve always been a pop freak, I’ll admit it; even as a heavy metal-listening kid, the stuff I liked the most had at least some sort of a melody to it most of the time (barring Warrant, that is—I always thought those guys were losers). So, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that even a pop album I’m almost determined to not like would get stuck in my head. I took a couple of cursory listens to Super Hawaii one crappy afternoon, and tossed it aside, dismissing Kincaid’s latest as a badly-tuned Papas Fritas ripoff. Heck, I even forgot I had the CD for a while after that.
Then a weird thing happened. I found myself wandering around the house, or sitting at work, or trying to go to sleep, and humming little snatches of the title track’s cheery, buoyant chorus (it mostly just goes “Bop-bop, super Hawaii!” over and over again), or tapping my foot along to the propulsive backbeat of “California”, the music zipping along in my head. And sure, these folks do share stylistic space with people like Papas Fritas, Silver Scooter, and Teenage Fanclub, but they manage to do it their own distinctive way.
The songs are similarly candy-sweet and poppy, ranging from the slow melancholy of “Semi-Circle” to the Sebadoh rock-out of “Tyme Machine”, and yeah, they are occasionally badly-tuned (check out the horns in “Plot #36”), but the quiet vocals and spare, plinky guitar lines make the rest almost unimportant. By the time “Bells Will Ring” breaks down, halfway through, and one of the band members laughs “we’re never gonna get it right!”, I have to disagree.
// Notes from the Road
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