Ivy

Apartment Life (Atlantic ’97) Rating: B+
Breezy lite lounge confections perfect for a lazy summer day, this band deserves to be better known, and fans of The Sundays or Stereolab should find this album extremely appealing. Any group that Adam Schlessinger (see also: Fountains Of Wayne) is involved with is bound to have the melody element well covered, but it's the cool European accented coos of French chanteuse Dominique Durand that steals the show. Whether on the catchy kick of album opener “The Best Thing,” the beautifully sad “Never Do That Again,” or the bright and airy melody of “I Get The Message,” Durand sings with a breathy tranquility. The guys do their share as well (Andy Chase is the third member), and often it is a subtle little thing that makes a song stand out, such as a low-key keyboard hook, a poppy horn arrangement, or a danceable electronic beat. The lyrics are brief but effective, detailing relationships in their various states of flux, and on several songs Durand pines for better times, sometimes reminiscing about the good old days. However, even though the lyrical focus is often downcast, the upbeat nature of the music can’t help but lift up one’s spirits. I mean, you just gotta like a band unpretentious enough to title a song “Ba Ba Ba,” and Durand does show a more optimistic, happier side to her on tracks such as “I’ve Got A Feeling” (probably the album's best song) and “These Are The Things About You.” Sure, several songs on the album’s second half pass by pleasantly but unremarkably, but at its best (primarily the first five songs, one of which, "This Is The Day," was featured in the movie There's Something About Mary, thereby increasing the band’s profile) this “Quick, Painless and Easy” album becomes pretty addictive, and when Durand seductively whispers “everything is all right” her wish becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for most lucky listeners.

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