Friday, December 25, 2009

Track 8: "True or False" by Bishop Allen

As my brother and I discussed potential bands of the decade, with a prerequisite of four solid albums, I had to wonder if I could use Bishop Allen's appearance in the movie Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist as number four because I've really enjoyed their three albums. That particular high-profile moment led to several publications feeling obligated to review their latest and subsequently thrash it as being too simple, too twee, too cute, too condescendingly pop. Of course I've long shared my favorite of the five digits with any critic that thinks music must be challenging to be good. Spin called it a "charming diversion" as if that was a bad thing.

Grrr may not sound as immediately pleasing as the band's earlier efforts, but I feel like the decision to strip down to this type of simplicity is intentional as the group put together something pure fun after the well-reviewed Broken String and their expansive EP project. I'm not saying the album isn't overtly cute, but it is deceptively pulled together by a menage of folk instrumentation behind the sugary pop. It's hard to not have fun listening to Bishop Allen.

I purposely choose this song because I struggled with accepting songs where Justin Rice wasn't the primary vocalist. I certainly can't profess that a band is allowed to change it up every now and then and not be okay with this change of pace. Though, for the record, my favorite song on the album is "South China Moon."

8.) "True or False" by Bishop Allen

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