erasing clouds

Math and Physics Club, self-titled

reviewed by dave heaton

My reminder to write about this album came in the form of me making up this morning singing its first track, "Darling, Please Come Home," even though I hadn't listened to it in days. This isn't the first time it's happened with the song – it's a remarkable song, sweet but also gently sad, and it's been following me around since I first heard it, along with the nine other songs on the Seattle-based group's debut full-length.

Math and Physics Club's two EPs, this album's predecessors, contained sensitive, absolutely catchy, smartly crafted pop songs created by musicians with an obvious sense for pop history (demonstrated by a Beach Boys cover and musical similarities to the Smiths, their US labelmates the Lucksmiths, and others). Their debut album presents more of the same (thankfully!), but with an album feeling replacing the EP feeling. That is, instead of keeping everything short and snappy, the songs slow down and breathe more, albeit within the classically 'pop' format of the under-30-minute LP.

Melancholy + hopeful is the mood. They play their songs with a spare set-up, and often a carefree, affable breeziness…but there's heartbreak there too.

Each song is perfect to my ears. The long-distance-love ballad "Holidays and Saturdays" has an unmistakable glow about it, aided by violin. "La La La Lisa" is an impeccable, classic pop sing-along. "Cold as Minnesota" swings, from handclaps and a tight rhythm section, in an almost dance-party way, while also being a sad break-up song, hooked on the great lyric "there is a chill as cold as Minnesota / telling me it's over."

The album's filled with gems, ending appropriately with an end-of-the-night "Last Dance." This was a quick night, but an unforgettable one, given to us by a rising star of a band, already creating timeless pop music.


this month's issue
about erasing clouds

Copyright (c) 2006 erasing clouds