The Aluminum Group
Have you ever been in a crowd of people all laughing hysterically at a joke that you just don’t get? Even after patient explanation the punch line never rings true; so you walk around feeling foolish. The Aluminum Group’s fifth album, Happyness provokes a similar reaction. Upon first listen the twee sweetness of it all sticks to your aural palette almost to the point of nausea. The tasteful little drumbeats, the soothing almost background music keyboards, and the breathy, smug vocals combine to make you go, “You can’t be serious.” And perhaps they (Frank and John Navin) aren’t. This record causes an instant flashback to the horrid soft rock, lounge music crap of the ’70s — this could be Bread if it had acoustic guitars. Now, the more you listen to it, elements of strangeness emerge. The music is actually far more complex than it initially appears, and lyrically, they are giving razorbladed apples to kiddies.
It isn’t really possible to wholeheartedly recommend this record, nor is it possible to call it crap. I’m pretty sure I’ll never listen to it again — it makes me nervous, the same way a grinning adult alone in the corner of Chuck E. Cheese makes me uncomfortable. He might not be up to anything, but then again, you never know. Or perhaps I’ve invested far too much effort in this already, and it’s just a joke I don’t get.
Wising Tree Records: http://www.wishingtreerecords.com