Release Date: May 21, 2013
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Chamber Pop
Since Michigan's Fred Thomas recorded Saturday Looks Good to Me's debut in 2000, this indie pop project has developed considerably since his original, whimsical premise of creating an album by a band that didn't exist. With Thomas as the fulcrum, lineup changes have been a major theme of the band, as has his masterful ability to draw on '60s pop -- from Spector to Wilson, Motown to the Zombies -- while continuing to produce fresh and inventive material. SLGTM's previous album, 2007's Fill Up the Room, was something of a departure in the sense that he sang lead vocals on nearly every track.
Fred Thomas is as elusive a bandleader as his band, Saturday Looks Good to Me, is an unpredictable band. The group made a series of gauzy pop records before making 2007’s Fill Up the Room, a big, airtight power-pop record that jumped genres while upping the studio quality to brilliant effect. It wasn’t an extension of what came before, since everything the band does feels like a total jump away from what came before, but it did feel like an ending—even Thomas thought so—for the band.
Saturday Looks Good To Me has always been about transitions and change, with the constant switching of band members and the affinity towards recruiting new singers on every album (if not every track). On the eighth studio release, One Kiss Ends It All, the single constant of the band and mastermind Fred Thomas has thrown a little bit of everything, making it a bit uneven and plodding in a few spots, but also with moments of spaced-out pop bliss. While it can feel bogged down with all this audio tinkering, there are times when the band stops fiddling and starts playing, and it's here you come to realize that there are some very good space-pop songs to be had.
It's been five-and-a-half long years since Saturday Looks Good to Me, Eastern Michigan's premier temp agency for indie-poppers, gave us Fill Up the Room. Not that Saturday bossman Fred Thomas hasn't kept himself busy, forming the dreamy City Center and issuing a couple Neil Young-ish LPs under his own name. Thomas, ever the compartmentalizer, largely abandoned the sweeping romance of Saturday's Motown-and-Northern Soul-inflected indie-pop, letting his most famous project fall by the wayside in order to pursue these noisier, rootsier stylings.
Despite not being the most prolific band lately, Saturday Looks Good To Me are still as reliable as ever. They've never wandered too far from the lo-fi indie pop template they first appeared on the scene with, and that hasn't changed with their fifth album, One Kiss Ends It All. What has changed, however, is the line-up. Fred Thomas, the ringleader of the band, is still here, as are a few other old friends, but he's joined by two new vocalists (Carol Catherine and Amber Fellows), although it doesn't make much difference to how the group sound.