May or May Not Colors Only Bees Can See

[Two Thumbs Down; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: indie-pop, power-pop
Others: Five Dollar Foundation, Phantom Planet, Fountains of Wayne

May or May Not's modern-day influences are pretty evident upon listening to Colors Only Bees Can See -- the Shins, the New Pornographers, Beulah -- especially Beulah. May or May Not's music is the epitome of power-pop, and although they are unable to quite reach the highs of the bands they emulate, the band's debut LP is a great listen and proves May or May Not to be a welcome addition to the genre.

All the typical descriptions used to describe most power-pop bands apply here: catchy, summery, poppy, fun, and the songs mostly deliver on all counts. Topics such as space, drugs, math, balding, and of course, love, all make appearances throughout the album's 40 short minutes, as do a piano, a gong, and an omnichord. "Gotta Get Out of Here" and "Best You Can," two of the better tracks from 2004's Four Songs EP, return to the track listing on Colors and remain two of the highlights. Album centerpiece "Plight of the Navigator" is another head-bobbing treat; meanwhile, it seems almost impossible not to join in the chorus of "WHERE DID YOU GO-O-O-OOOO" at the top of my lungs during "Five O'Clock," making it one of my favorite moments on the album. Overall, the vocals are very strong, the doo-wop harmonies make me smile, and the lyrics are generally quite clever (that is, when they aren't trying too hard to be funny for funny's sake).

Though May or May Not occasionally border on being almost too cute for their own good (occasionally sounding like they belong on a '50s musical soundtrack), they provide an extremely pleasurable, toe-tapping good time. Besides, retro is in now, right? Basically: I like it!

1. Tiny Things
2. Who Was It Any of Us Ever Meant to Kiss?
3. Gotta Get Out of Here
4. When We're In Space (We'll Have Lots of Space)
5. To the Sun
6. Plight of the Navigator
7. Five O'Clock
8. Best You Can
9. Bald Is Beautiful
10. Astronomical/Mathematical
11. Child of Silence
12. City Girl
13. Lovesick