July 3, 2008

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This Car Up, Smile When You’re Alone
self-released, Feb. 9
Allston, Mass.-based indie-AOR-twee quintet who make genre-splicing look easy. They don’t have Athlete’s budget but one of the songwriters here could write their next album for sure, if not even the next Dashboard Confessional record, while another of the dudes is into Belle & Sebastian (“Expect Them to Lie”) and still another obviously makes out to Death Cab for Cutie with an Air CD queued up to follow (“Tarzan vs Graham Chapman”). Given all this you’d expect either disaster or something pretty dazzling, and luckily it’s the latter. It’s an album-album, cleverly stacked with the doe-eyed Belle and Death Cab things leading into the crashy, rainy, adult-emo angst-guitar of “Shiny Objects,” as if to say it’s okay to be a touchy-feely Alan Alda most of the time, but testosterone never sleeps. Such a pleasant switch that is. Hooks come at will to this band – the members are in a place right now where they’re still exuberant about their exuberance over finding each other, and a lot of things (tours, rising-local-hero-status, airplay) have come fast after their being together for a very short year or so. Time will tell, of course, but what I can safely report is that you’ll like this record regardless of whatever may come. AEric W. Saeger