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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 181 - 06/15/11

Firefly Effect
Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better
Perfect Pop Records

I was afraid Perfect Pop quietly had passed away, but suddenly, out of the blue, here's a new album after two years' silence. But the label's stable seems to have diminished. In fact the previous Perfect Pop release was Firefly Effect's debut album Everything Is Beautiful And You Are The Reason. The press sheet I received along with the new album, informs us that the male trio with the debut created a symbiosis between Perfect Pop's urge for beautiful melodies and Metronomicon Audio's pioneer work concerning sound. The music had references to the merry and psychedelic songs of the 1960s, synths from the 70s and 80s, and avant-garde elements that point forward towards brighter times.

Try Again ... is based on the same recipe, according to the same press sheet. "Nightmare" is to some extent representative in this respect. The bass has lots of delightful flanger effects that reminds of Cocteau Twins in the middle and latter half of the 1980s. The guitar has a little bit country twang at the start, not unlike several American guitar bands of the same era. But after a while it is substituted with one that reminds a lot of The Byrds around "Eight Miles High" (March 1966 that is). The song has lots of synths from different decades all over the place, some pointing towards the future, too, unlike most of the other songs here where the keyboard sounds are closer to 1960s flavoured organ. Well, all in all it's the guitars that dominate the album and comes in many colours, from the quite gentle pop kind to the tougher rock based.

When I received the album, I expected it to be the soundtrack of the summer of 2011. But no, the pure 60s inspired catchy melodic pop songs usually associated with Perfect Pop are in minority here. The most obvious candidates are "Vivid In My Mind" and "Heart Of Gold" (no, not the Neil Young classic), both a bit on the melancholic side with great female innocent-seductive vocals. The former has a dynamic synth and bass and a great catchy chorus, the highlight of the album. The latter has 3-4 lead vocalists, including Marit Harnes of Children And Corpse Playing In The Streets fame. And "Glass Onion" (no, not The Beatles/Lennon classic), "Nature = Human Kind" and "Butterflies" are other nice whistle-friendly guitar or synth-driven pop songs. The former has a chorus with remote reverberations of the ditto from The Beatles'/George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", which can't be wrong. "Need You Tonight" is harder to date, but also has a couple of references to the Fab Four. It seems the song's lyrics consist of short excerpts from the world of popular music, varying from the careful and quite innocent of The Beatles ('love is more than just holding hands'), via the bath tub of "Norwegain Wood" and Backstreet Boys to the less innocence of Dead Kennedys ('too drunk to fuck'). Wow! And there are more, if you study carefully.

The only slightly disappointments of the album are a couple of guitar oriented rock numbers that don't seem to lead very far. On the other hand, the 1980s sounding rhythm machine that marred parts of the debut album is long gone. A great leap forward! All in all an album for all seasons with a handful of good and a couple of excellent summer pop songs. Not bad!

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You may also want to check out our Firefly Effect article/review: Everything Is Beautiful And You Are The Reason.

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