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Man of the Year
Man of the Year
The Future is Not Now
Tiny Beat/Loveless

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Man of the Year used to go by Lolly (a well known name in Portland pop circles). This is their debut under the new moniker. It's shoe-gazer-like, boy-girl-boy pop of the lush-yet-highly-sophisticated variety. The opening, "Silver Dollar", is just edgy enough, with its assertive guitars and vocals, to dispel notions of anything too sweet. "Hovercraft" hammers home the point. Like the boldness of "Silver Dollar", its subtlety and restraint serve to distance MOTY from their candy-loving peers. Something about "Hovercraft" -- I think it's the harmonies -- reminds me a little of Ben Folds Five. Furthermore, it reminds me of one of my favorite now-defunct pop bands, Holiday, although MOTY are a tad more sedated.

My favorite tracks on this album are "Clubhouse" and "Toledo". I like "Clubhouse" for many of the same reasons I enjoy high pop luminaries like Archer Prewitt. It is both controlled and passionate. It is also organic, in that its soaring choruses are built from the carefully laid groundwork of the preceding, more pedantic verses. "Toledo" is the catchiest tune on the disc. It recalls Of Montreal in its light, acoustic, "I could play this on a Ukelele"-style instrumentation and falsetto vocals. The dry trumpet hits of the wordless chorus are a beautiful touch, like a sudden burst of sun through clouds.

Sugary pop has its place, but this sophisticated, slightly more ambiguous stuff comes highly recommended too!

-- Noah Wane
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