April 12, 2007

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I’m From Barcelona, Let Me Introduce My Friends
Mute Records, 2007

Raffi for crook-leg dancers, requiring 29 band members to get its point across. Fans of TV’s Fawlty Towers are well familiar with Manuel the waiter’s all-purpose tag line, and ironically enough that’s the approximate size of the fringe audience who’ll readily fall to the charms of this way-too-many-piece outfit: limey sitcoms are distinctly love it or hate it things, ditto with this. IFB’s raison d’etre is getting crowds to sing their pneumatic, minutiae-obsessed choruses, something you’re sure to find yourself doing if you’re into purveyors of roots-poppy nothings like Califone (or the Beach Boys, Archies, ad infinitum). The fact that they’re Swedish, signed to a big label, and your humble wimp-rock-hating reporter here didn’t huck their CD onto the breakdown lane of Route 93 should provide sufficient testament to the catchiness of the tunes; there’s a great degree of singability here, even with lyrics that dwell on potty training and alarm clocks. A- Eric W. Saeger