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splendid > reviews > 12/28/2005
The Positions
The Positions
Bliss!
Lazyline


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Flowers and Trees"

Buy me now
The Positions are so unapologetically pop that their senior-prom-core songs sound charming instead of abhorrent. It's a fine line to walk, but it's one that all pop artists must navigate when they're working with such cornball elements from the '60s and the '80s. Who can deny the boldness required to reference The Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" and Tiffany's Tiffany in the same song, as The Positions did on the finger-snapping "Back to Me"? Combining the two elements is like putting whip cream on a cake made only of frosting; if you're in the mood for something sweet, then fuck yeah!. This may all seem somewhat wussy, but there's something undeniably ballsy about Bliss! It's just as much a statement about the jaded musical climate in which we live as it is a judgement upon the audacity of writing a song like "I Need You" while not being a member of The Chi-Lites, but it seems downright gutsy to be so... umm... happy?

To be fair, The Positions' uptempo pop ditties have a sort of contemporary flair, and when horns are added to the mix, the band lands in the same basic genre box as Beulah; "Someday" and "Flowers and Trees", for instance, bristle during the fast-paced interplay between Nicole Stoops's vocals and the Herb Alpert-style horn arrangements. At its heart, though, Bliss! is more Debbie Gibson than indie-pop (not that there's anything wrong with that). Perhaps there's not a lot of room in the cynical indie-rock world for songs that spew awkward hopefulness and optimism by the gallon, but if there is, The Positions will be there -- corsages mounted, party hats strapped to their heads, asking for the next dance.



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