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The Flops, Ooh La La (self-released)
Like coffeehouse rock? Curious as to what the bassist from one-hit wonders Semisonic is up to these days? The Flops have you covered. John Munson (the bassist in question) and Matt Wilson (best known from his days in Trip Shakespeare) have joined forces, and now have Ooh La La, a self-released live debut album on their hands -- 14 tracks recorded over three nights in Minneapolis. Gentle, acoustic guitar is the order of the day, and while nothing on the album will knock the foam off your latte, Ooh La La has a few quiet gems -- the rootsy, harmonica-aided "Two Wheeler, Four Wheeler" and the Steely Dan-esque "Face Up" chief among them. For a band preoccupied with travel and the distance between people ("Landing", "Travel Plans", "Searchers"), Ooh La La's sound is decidedly earthy and close to the heart. Wilson's plain voice is perfect for the stripped-down arrangements -- though Munson sounds like Mark Volman (the Turtles, Frank Zappa) when he sings and should step away from the mic. Simple but strong guitar interplay on tracks like "Drummer Like Me" and "Landing" atone for the vocal disconnect. The Flops also throw in a few unscrewupable covers (the Faces' "Ooh La La" and Big Star's "I'm in Love With a Girl"); all told, the band doesn't live up to (or is it down to?) their name. Ooh La La is a warm cup of live coffeehouse rock in a convenient take-home container.