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"Music Sounds Better With You"

Acid House Kings – Music Sounds Better With You
11 March 2011, 13:00 Written by Sharon Kean

After teasing fans with sing-a-long friendly single ‘Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends?’ last year, the band’s fifth full-length record has finally popped out into the open like a picnic basket packed with gingham fabric and pretty floral patterned plates and cups. And, it is with no small amount of excitement from their record label, Labrador, whose website has been promising “a new album defining the meaning of pop” for a wee while now. That may be overselling it slightly, but Music Sounds Better With You contains some of the Acid House King’s most accessible music to date. The catchy choruses with easy-to-remember lyrics make this album instantly appealing and set it apart from much of the twee indie-pop that’s bouncing harmlessly around at the moment.

For a guitar-playing pop group who apparently own a full set of Smiths singles, it’s a shame that the similarities with Morrissey’s men end with the cleverly worded title of opening track ‘Heaven Knows I Miss Him Now’. Instead this is the work of a gaggle of musicians who smile relentlessly and won’t take no for answer when requesting that the whole world smiles with them. This album is, to use their words, more of the “Smiths for very sunny days” stuff seen on their previous records.

‘There Is Something Beautiful’ is an easy-on-the-ear dreamy ditty about lost love that Camera Obscura might well have written had they been sunbathing in Gothenburg rather than Glasgow. If you shut your eyes, it could convince you that you’re leaving the city in an open-top vintage sports car heading for postcard-perfect countryside, breathing only the freshest, most optimistic air. Only those afflicted with the prickliest of anti-twee sentiments would be able to resist skipping along to ‘Waterfall’ with it’s marching yellow brick road beat. The same is true of ‘(I’m in) A Chorus Line’, which sounds like stripped down St Etienne, not least because of Julia Lannerheim’s pensively sweet vocals. ‘Would You Say Stop?’ has a similar effect mixing the ghostly female tones with a Belle and Sebastian backing track that bumbles along like giddy young love, tumbling down a soft green hill.

This is a collection of pop songs written by and for people who greet the world with a grin every morning, even if it’s raining outside and you’re not sure whether the girl or boy you love feels the same way you do. Acid House Kings may be about as edgy as an orange but if their brand of cheery pop ceased to exist, the world would be a darker more dreary place.

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