8. Structure And Cosmetics – The Brunettes
Oh, great, glorious, silly pop music. The Brunettes are Jonathan Bree and Heather Mansfield, two New Zealand multi instrumentalists (and perhaps to two sexiest people in music) who have put out previous albums of indie pop fare. Adorable little Jonathan Richman tributes, with titles like ‘When Ice Met Cream’.
That’s all pretty much gone out the window for this year’s best BIG pop record. Opening with Brunettes Against Bubblegum Youth, a huge, symphonic, kinda Pet Sounds-y, kind of Queen-esque, but utterly charming opening number. It sounds like several hundred people singing “B-A, B-Y, I love to call you baby”.
And from then we are off. Eight more wonderful pop confections, each moving and swaying with no real sense of strong structure. Just brilliant catchy pop bit after brilliant pop bit.
Heather is singing her heart out. Her layers and layers of vocal melody, matched with the sweetness (and oddness) of the lyrics are the album’s heart. She sings about hairigami sets, banana bread, aliens, and lots of sha-la-las.
But the star is Jonathan Bree. Nothing about the Brunettes before suggested they could make such big leap. Breezy psychedelia, beautiful arrangements…this sounds like a classical record, or a song suite. Keyboards, guitars, trumpets and all manner of noodling swim in and out. It’s very exciting on headphones.
In the end, this record is something new. I can’t really think of anything like it. And I like it. More than like it, I love it. I suggest you start with “If You Were Alien” and go from there.