Saturday Looks Good To Me Fill Up the Room

[K; 2007]

Styles: old school pop under new management
Others: Beulah, (Genuine) Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples In Stereo, The Smiths

I'll be frank – after listening to the first two tracks of Saturday Looks Good To Me's Fill Up the Room, I felt like I didn't need to hear the rest. The opener, "Apple," is the most cliché rendition of rock's most cliché chord progression that I've heard in ages, and I laugh at the horrendous, auto-tune-starved vocals on "(Even If You Die On The) Ocean." This normally spells doom for an album. Ask any record executive about the importance of ordering songs on demo tapes, and they'll all tell you about the unwritten rule: The only tracks that matter are the first three, and the rest will probably never be heard by any producer or talent buyer.

Luckily, the momentum shifts by track three, "When I Lose My Eyes," a significant departure from the gouge-your-eyes-out pop of the first two tracks and, not coincidentally, the song that sets the record on path to victory. By the time "Edison Girls" hits, SLGTM have solidified themselves as one of the most important bands working in the indie-pop scene. It doesn't hurt that Fred Thomas sounds better here than on any other SLGTM release,

The last four tracks, decidedly poppy and without the long-form tension and release of "When I Lose My Eyes," have SLGTM proclaiming that there are still plenty of catchy, beautiful, and witty pop songs to be written. Much in the same way that you sing along to In The Aeroplane Over The Sea from start to finish, you'll soon be finding yourself humming "Hands In The Snow" when you should be studying, commiserating with the Jeff Mangumesque "Come With Your Arms" during a particurlarly rainy day, and letting "White Hands" rattle in your brain for a late-night drive home.

The beginning of this journey is decidedly rocky, but had SLGTM omitted the first two tracks, the dazzling framework that makes this album just wouldn't feel the same. Like virtually no other album I've heard this year, Fill Up the Room is one of the more interesting portraits of a band making multiple stops on the pop continuum. The ride is not always a smooth one, but that's a good thing, because the destination is one of the most satisfying places available to modern ears. With Fill Up the Room, Saturday Looks Good To Me have finally come off their retro-pop obsession and into a much more urbane aesthetic, creating not just individualized, instantly gratifying pop numbers, but interconnected snapshots of their illustrious career.

Most Read