Release Date: Oct 6, 2009
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Anyone who watched the recent BBC1 contest to find this year’s Eurovision contestant will know that getting pop right is a tricky task. Obviously a committee consisting of Pete Waterman and prime time mainstream TV viewers was never going to unearth something special, but the scale of ineptitude revealed something interesting – a feeling that pop is dead. Now don’t all send links to the ‘Telephone’ video or direct me to Hurts Myspace, I know they’re pop (and brilliant) but it’s all arched and knowing with more than a hint of the subterranean and alternative.
Much has been made of Music Go Music's Abba tendencies, but to paint this LA band solely with a Scandinavian pop brush is unfair. This debut album is like a cornucopia of 1970s FM radio hits. Combined from three EPs compiled as a hobby – the band's Gala Bell and Kamer Maza are the husband-and-wife team behind Bodies of Water – the original promo copy of this album was titled Greatest Hits.
If an album's worth were solely measured by how successfully it accomplishes its stylistic goals, then Expressions would be one of the best albums of the year. The debut full-length from the semi-mysterious collective known as Music Go Music-- a collection of all nine tracks culled from the three 12" the band released over the last year and a half-- is an obvious homage to ABBA, the Carpenters, ELO, and other purveyors of the unironic, sugary pop that was a mainstay of 1970s radio. And perhaps not since those bands themselves has someone made such assuredly hooky, dramatically multi-layered tunes such as these.
When I first popped Expressions from Music Go Music into my stereo, I damn near threw the jewel case across the room out of sheer repulsion. “What is this crap I roped myself into covering?” I angrily thought to myself upon hearing the sugar-coated sounds of this mysterious Los Angeles-based group who go by silly aliases and shamelessly flaunt their AM transistor pop influences with a detached sense of retro cool. It was literally everything I hated about hipster irony to the umpteenth degree.
Despite their mysterious aliases—band members go by Kamer Maza, Gala Bell, and TORG (yes, all caps)—the musicians of this Los Angeles trio sure know how to craft a pop song. Expressions compiles the nine tracks that made up the band's three 12" singles into one, unified debut album. And the greatness of those singles still resonates when played together as one whole-album trip.
I'm not convinced music needs a new indie-styled ABBA, but if you're someone who is (and I know you exist), then definitely check out L.A.'s Music Go Music. Their bright melodies and catchy singalong choruses translate the golden age of disco-pop maximalism pretty well. [rssbreak] Well aware of their melodramatic, theatrical musicality, the band's been posting neat videos in the kitschy style of 70s cable-access talent shows.
If you don’t adore this ABBA-indebted pop, get yourself to your local GP. Chris Parkin 2010 There’s just no skirting around it. Neglecting to mention that this self-styled ‘fantasy pop’ trio from LA owe a massive, almost unquantifiable debt to ABBA would see us failing to tell you what Music Go Music sound like. If it isn’t enough that their bass player employs a Scandinavian-like alias in the form of Torg, this debut album is a spangly, fist-pumping, jumpsuit-clad celebration of the Swedish pop titans’ genius.