Sunday, December 4, 2011

1900's Return of the Century

It's not often you get to say sweeping pop music that swept me away, but after listening to the 1900's Return of the Century that's exactly what I felt like. This Chicago based band has it's roots tucked neatly away in a stack of well studied indie-pop records that span the last twenty years. While the record takes a step back from being completely swamped in retro-influences, it never forgets them and at times you'd swear you were listening to a long lost AM radio station. Return of the Century is covered in pop from head to toe; this is a record that's so gosh darn cuddly that every chorus is like a warm sunshiny day. If ever there was a chipper record I think it would be fair to say that the 1900's have come up with it on Return of the Century.

At times 1900's sound more Belle and Sebastian than Belle and Sebastian do and at others they remind me of Of Montreal before they got lost in cross dressing the 1900's clearly have steered their ship in the direction of indie pop bliss. With gently jangly guitars, simple but very effective melodies, lyrics that are easier to remember than your ABC's and an overwhelming sense of joy it seems almost impossible for this record to be bad. Even at their slowest and folkiest, the band eventually always manages to find its pop sensibility and launch into some sort of chorus that will leave you in awe. Warm and welcoming, this is one band that's relaxed in writing folksy, sweeping pop songs that you can devour ten at a time. The 1900's are simply fantastic at what they do and whether it's the stirring strings, the boy/girl interplay, the incessant jangly guitars or just the entire Return of the Century album itself, they've knocked it out of the ball park.

From beat ridden indie shuffle of, "Lay A Ghost," to the 60's pseudo psychedelics of, "Babies," the 1900's have taken all their favorite things and combined them into a heady stew of brilliance. There is not a lot of negative things to say about Return of the Century, in fact, there's really nothing at all I can say bad about this record. This is the perfect fall record; it's cool, collected, and filled with harmonies that will tug at your heart strings. If you bought this, Belle and Sebastian’s latest, and an old Of Montreal record you would pretty much have a quintessential introduction to what perfect indie pop is all about. With that in mind, there should be no hesitation in showing the 1900's some love.

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