All Girl Summer Fun Band: self-titled

All Girl Summer Fun Band
All Girl Summer Fun Band

All Girl Summer Fun Band is too cute for its own good with its bright, girly vocals and giddy retro-pop, but you’ll love the band anyway. While the blatantly adorable may tend to run a bit rampant on All Girl Summer Fun Band, the band’s playful self-awareness gives them a delightful appeal that transcends the novelty of their sound. All Girl Summer Fun Band is pure fun as well as pure genius.

With no song over three minutes, All Girl Summer Fun Band packs every moment with bubbly energy. Surprisingly, though, this never becomes nauseating, even while staying sickly sweet. They manage to avoid the trap of overdone sugariness by balancing their music with healthy doses of good-humored irony. They seem aware of how artificial it is to be playing music inspired by ’60s beach music, and All Girl Summer Fun Band works well within this context.

Still, All Girl Summer Fun Band would be an amusing but inane group if they didn’t have the talent to back it up. All four members come across as accomplished musicians with the chirpy guitars and little girl vocals of Jen Sbragia, the precise percussion of Kathy Foster, the mischievous keyboards of Kim Baxter, and the bright bass of Ari Douangpanya. While the band is obviously not serious in its content or sound, it is still comprised of serious musicians.

What really holds All Girl Summer Fun Band together, though, is its lyrics. At once hilariously clever and dead-on, they are unexpectedly intelligent and honest. From praise of boyfriends’ sexual abilities (despite other flaws) on “Later Operator” to the proud defense of outdated technology on “Cell Phone”, All Girl Summer Fun Band enjoys letting listeners in on the joke. On “Canadian Boyfriend”, Sbragia sings “Canadian boyfriend / Making my way up by five / Canadian boyfriend / It’s about a six hour drive” giving heart and humor to such mundane details. Even songs like “Car Trouble” with its singsong chorus of “He broke my heart / My car won’t start” work because All Girl Summer Fun Band brings such charm and wit to such lines. All Girl Summer Fun Band proves itself as a group of smart women who just happen to make cute music.

With no song on the album over three minutes long these quick pieces of music may not add up to much (the entire album isn’t even a half hour long), but it preserves its spirit on repeat listens. It keeps All Girl Summer Fun Band from becoming too self-important. Although not frivolous, All Girl Summer Fun Band realizes its music is mostly just frothy fun. It may not fill any deep emotional holes in listeners, but All Girl Summer Fun Band will still leave you wanting more.

All Girl Summer Fun Band summarizes itself in its “Theme Song” — “They’re nothing big, but they’re nothing small” and “When you hear their songs, you want to hear them again.” You really can’t argue with that.