Album Reviews: Concretes in Colour by The ConcretesThe Concretes' previous album showcased the band's love for Motown, but filtered through their Velvet Underground indie rock approach. This time around the Swedes have made a wonderfully unapologetic pop record that sounds like The Carpenters fronted by Petula Clark (this is a compliment, by the way).
But unlike a Carpenters or Petula Clark album, Concretes in Colour is not necessarily a showcase for Victoria Bergsman's voice. And unlike previous releases, these songs are not guitar driven or even remotely electric. The songs are fully realized chamber pop arrangements, with flugelhorn and all. The album's two most straightforward pop tunes -- "On the Radio" and "Song for the Songs" -- serve as the album's bookends, and let Victoria belt out over the horns. But the slow burn track that will eventually become your favorite is "A Way of Life." It sounds eerily like an early '90s Sundays song, and it's a welcome reminder to the gap left by that band's departure.
There may not be much exceptional about the album, other than the fact that it's exceptionally pleasant. But that's a feat in and of itself. These songs are instantly familiar and you're never looking for the skip button. A band that goes from sounding like the Velvet Underground to a '60s West Coast pop band is probably going to lose some indie rock cred in the process, but as a record, this stands up to anything they've done before. This is pop music without pretense. And it's just in time to become your favorite spring/summer album. Listen to it on a sunny weekend morning with the windows open. -- Doug Kamin
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