Sweets from the Minibar
Eskimo Kiss Records
sounds more like The Cars than The Cars did toward the end of their
run, thanks to the Cars-style keyboards (last heard on The Rentals'
first album), and Cars-style electric guitars (heard nowhere else,
really). And even though the Durham, N.C., duo sports female vocals
on most tracks, there's an undeniable Cars sheen in the singing
as well, probably because Shirle Hale is perfectly complimented
by husband David Koslowski on the harmonies (and his occasional
The third person in the
mix is producer Chris Stamey, last seen running around with the
dBs in the early '80s (in fact, the project turns into a pseudo
Let's Active reunion when Mitch Easter adds guitar to "Magnastar").
The result is a supersweet
post-New Wave sound that the band calls "Europop" but
has more in common with the current American retro electronic acts.
In fact, the more synths they pour on, like on the short, kicky
"Lower Moreland," the more outwardly poppy they get. Most
songs are in the three minute range, with the exception of the jerky,
synth-string-fueled waltz ballad "Remember" and "Head
Hang Low," a lush track that features a nice touch of trumpet
that clocks in at around six minutes.
It isn't until toward
the end of the CD (the spy stuff "She Rides Trains in Belgium,"
the Hooverphonic-esque "21st Century Girl") that Gerty
gets a bit more sinister, which is a tasty contrast to all the up-swing
pop stuff, but even then, it's just a matter of a key or tempo change
amidst a collection of simple, warm pop ditties that'll be close
to the heart of any Cars or Rentals fan, and those of us who long
for those wide-eyed Reagan-pop years.
Posted Dec. 4,
2002. Copyright © 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
more like The Cars than The Cars did toward the end of their