The Mood Elevator

The Mood Elevator

Married Alive


Brendan Benson’s 2002 record Lapalco was one of my favorite power pop albums released that year. So I was intrigued when I learned that Benson and his band back up Chris Plum on this disc as The Mood Elevator. Unfortunately, Plum isn’t the vocalist Benson is, and his lyrics leave little to be desired.

“We used to be a smash hit / Now it’s all gone to shit,” Plum sings on the opening power guitar-laden “Boycott.” He atonally shouts his way through “Watch Your Girl.” And tunes like “Guilty” and “Something I Need” are marred by irritatingly bad singing, while the two songs at the end of the album repeat the same lines over and over so much, you’ll think the CD is skipping.

Occasionally, Plum, Benson and company come up with a winner. “Anglophile” sounds like it was co-written by Elliott Smith and Jason Falkner. The brief acoustic number “Life Line” is Brian Wilson filtered through XTC’s Andy Partridge. “Beginner’s Luck” is XTC-ish as well. And a vintage Who feel makes “Best Kept Secret” one of the album’s better songs.

Still, I’ll be glad when Benson re-assumes the microphone and the songwriting chores.

The Mood Elevator: • Doppler Records:

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