Pools of liquid sunlight collect under a mauve Volkswagen Beatle. People in earth tones circle about and lie on the grass. The camera pans to a smiling outsider. The director has chosen the music because it glows with youth and kitchen-sink revelations.
Ghosts on the album scene since 2003, All Girl Summer Fun Band return with their new album, “Looking Into It.” Finally, the sea of lost folk who asked the questions “When?” “Why?” and “Who?” will be sated, or salted, with AGSFB’s newest offering to the god of indie-pop.
Yes, AGSFB are not a new band, even if the album feels a little rough and ready. We live in a world where people occasionally want to run about doing ker-azy things in rusty brown settings. We know. We’ve all seen “Garden State.” Yet the genius of this album is that it manages to combine tween pink punk with that brown authenticity rendered by afternoon light on Super 8 film.
But does this mix of Avril Lavigne and “Juno” really work? It certainly induces memories of younger, but not necessarily happier, days.
“Not the One For Me” exemplifies the fusion of pretty punk and (pet) rock. Plastic in many ways, the song is easy to listen to. “Oh oh oh, Oh oh oh,” yes, words are obscured by the guitars scraped against the ears, but you’ll keep teeny-bopping into the night, fuelled by parachuted anxiety meds and organic coffee.
On “Everything I Need,” one feels freer in these parameters. “Keep looking, turn me outside, everything I need in front of me”: despite the neediness in the nasal tones of lead singer Kim Baxter, it feels well constructed. Perhaps, however, the band should stay away from canned “alternativeness.”
“Rewind” demonstrates that the Portland, Ore. band is better suited to producing, slower, more anemic songs. Its soft maturity reminds one of reflective moments by the sea, perhaps, and stands as a moment of calm between some of the generic dissonances that the album has to offer.
Best summed up in one of its song titles, “Plastic Toy Dream,” this is a journey through Formica. Individual songs that don’t resonate much with each other, save for the fact that if you broke off one piece of a song, melted it down, and joined it to another song, it’d be basically the same material. There might be a color discrepancy.
And “Plastic Toy Dream?” Well, one could give it to a younger sibling (11-15), they’d love it. And it’d be fun to jump about to. For a bit. Drunk.