Cold & Kind
Following in the footsteps of Elephant 6 satellites Essex Green and Ladybug Transistor, The 1900s mine from a timeless Bacharachian/The Mamas and The Papas baroque school of pop. Their melodies seem destined for perfect pitch and placement, as though they’re covering one of their ’60s idols, but this seven-piece throws in some touches of ’70s soft rock — including a fairly strong strain of Fleetwood Mac — to keep the summery pools from stagnating in one decade’s aesthetics. There are even tense flourishes, as on “Wool of the Lamb” which recall Midlake’s languid epic “Roscoe.”
Adhering close to The Smiths’ upbeat music/sad lyrics dialectic, the music’s sprightliness is kept in emotional check by lead singer Edward Anderson’s disaffected lilt along with the gorgeous and slightly melancholy vocals of Caroline Donovan and Jeanette O’Toole. These are knowing acknowledgments, like the album’s title itself, that sun-drenched wistfulness inevitably carries gray clouds in its wake and we’re left with the echoes of “California Dreamin'” for the next generation.
Parasol Records: www.parasol.com