Anne Summers is not a woman, they’re three guys. And despite what you’ll think when you spin their swank new record, they’re not British, either – they’re from the DC area. You’d never know that from the record, though – Very Classy is full-on 80’s Brit-power pop – the type of stuff you used to expect from Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Paul Weller, and Difford & Tilbrook – and it’s absolutely glorious. I’m extremely happy to see this style making a comeback, and Anne Summers do it extremely well, evoking the best of that era without sounding hopelessly derivative or stiflingly “retro.” To the contrary, they sound fresh and modern, with densely layered, hook-filled tunes laden with jangly guitars, lush harmonies, and just the right finishing touches (dig that xylophone on “King Of Disaster” and “Robots”!). You’ll definitely find these tunes sticking to your brain, and catch yourself singing them when you least expect it.
Which brings me to the other thing that made me fall for Anne Summers: their gift for quirky, inventive, pop culture-laced lyrics. When you do find yourself singing these tunes, you’ll hear yourself crooning things like the hook from “Disaster,” “I am the anti-King Midas/My touch brings misery/It’s sort of a talent/Not like Michael Jordan/More like Kurt Cobain.” Or the refrains from “Real Life,” like “Real life just isn’t for me/That show The Real World bores me,” and “I thought I saw you in town/Smiling and strutting around/But you were wearing Dockers/And grooving to some Joe Cocker.” Or any of a thousand other sparkling little gems hidden throughout the course of the 11 wonderful songs on this album.
In short, Anne Summers have created a shiny pop mini-masterpiece that’s Very Classy, indeed. Highly recommended.