erasing clouds

The Matinee Hit Parade

reviewed by dave heaton

Matinee Recordings might not be releasing 7” singles anymore, but they still get the art of the format, of a snappy song that sounds like a hit, even if only 20 people ever hear it. With a disc painted to resemble a 7” and cover art of a record player with records scattered about, The Matinee Hit Parade is a CD collection of imaginary hit singles. It’s songs that fit that mold even though they’re exclusive to this release. There are new songs by Matinee stalwarts, up-and-comers, and brand-new bands with their own spark and knack for the art of crafting a pop song, Matinee’s specialty. All 13 songs are remarkably good for a collection like this, where usually you’d expect the bands to be holding back the better stuff. It’s a stand-out album of its own, not just a reservoir for cast-offs.

The ever-impressive Math and Physics Club open the album right with the sweet come-on “A Little Romance,” leading the way for a couple snappy upbeat songs from the Would-Be-Goods and the Lucksmiths that each match their usual standard of excellence. Though later there’s equally fine work from other indie-pop heroes like Harper Lee, The Pines, Slipslide (the sadly beautiful “Let Things Fall Apart”), the Guild League (The Lucksmiths’ Tali White’s travelogue project, continuing with aplomb, with the Middle-East voyage of “Call to Prayer”) and Lovejoy (“Astronauts”, a spell-binding closer), a decent portion of the CD is given over to introducing the newest bands on Matinee. They all fit in nicely within the label’s aesthetic – no surprises there – and their songs are all memorable. The new bands are The Electric Pop Group, Clay Hips (with Andrew Leavitt of The Fairways), and three bands from Glasgow, Scotland: Bubblegum Lemonade, Strawberry Whiplash and the Hermit Crabs, who recent EP and CD were very fine Matinee releases. I’m particularly taken with the bouncy yet hazy, alert and melancholy Bubblegum Lemonade song “Tyler”, but all fit in seamlessly. More stars in Matinee’s parade of hits.


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