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The Billionaires

Really Real for Forever

(Too Short; US: 1 Apr 2008; UK: Available as import)

Power pop is a genre that offers few intricacies. On the plus side, almost all of it is at least pretty good. The basic formula of big hooks and brisk tempos practically ensures the music’s likability. On the downside, the gross national power pop product can be overly homogeneous. Fortunately, Silverlake quintet The Billionaires avoid that pitfall by mixing up the tempos and feels nicely on their delicious debut, Really Real for Forever. Their closest musical kinship would likely be with New Pornographers. The Billionaires similarly craft addictive guitar-and-keyboard pop with both male and female vocals. They also offer a range of moods and BPMs across the record, from slow and dreamy “I Love You Mother Nature” to the hard riffing “Pass the Bottle”. Most of their material lives right in between, like super-sunny opener “The End of Summer Song”, complicatedly catchy “Eighties Movies”, and pastoral, plucky “Butterflies”. The band even try on some electronic elements on moody, disco-tinted number “Cold Day”. The song feels a little awkward at the outset, until some rockin’ guitars jump in and whip the tune up into a frenzy. On repeat listens, the album’s diversity works even better, cohering like the flavors in leftover stew. Whether the band will be around forever remains to be seen, but The Billionaires are for real. Really.

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Michael Keefe is a freelance music journalist, an independent bookstore publicist, and a singer/guitarist/songwriter in a band. Raised on a record collection of The Beatles, Coltrane, Mozart, and Ravi Shankar, Michael has been a slave to music his whole life. At age 16, he got a drum set and a job at a record store, and he's been playing and peddling music ever since. Today, he lives in Oregon with his wife (also a writer, but not about music), two cats, and a whole lot of instruments and CDs.


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