Album review: Music Go Music - 'Expressions' (Mercury/Secretly Canadian)
They have a fine ear for a sizzling pop tune, but with little unique personality this is near hen party zone
When it comes to music, the idea of a ‘guilty pleasure’ is a baffling one. There is no shame in loving what you love. Why stigmatise Magic FM for nailing its flag to the MOR pop pole? There isn’t enough muso snobbery in the land to ever argue with the fact that (and this is a miniscule sample of the station’s playlist) Fleetwood Mac, Abba, Dolly Parton and even Lionel Richie have the most brilliant songs of all time. A simple test is this: when drunk, what is best to sing along to? Something by Foals? Or ‘Tiny Dancer’?
Even though they’re from LA and drunkenly listening to Magic FM probably didn’t inspire ‘Expressions’, Music Go Music are smart enough to know all of this, so they’ve taken finest pop moments of the ’70s and laid them out with all the retro flair of a fondue set. It’s no coincidence that they teased this album with a series of videos mocked up to look like fake early-’80s TV shows, because everything about them is nostalgia distilled to its purest essence and dressed up in flares. ‘Light Of Love’ is Abba, ‘Thousand Crazy Nights’ is Heart and ‘Goodbye Everybody’ is The Carpenters, with very little to suggest the past 30 years have happened at all.
That means Music Go Music are heavily armed with killer pop tunes, but there are times when the album starts to slip into wedding DJ territory, for the sole reason that there’s little here to make it feel like their own. With one exception, that is: the sprawling, stirring disco pop of ‘Warm In The Shadows’ remains one of the finest songs to appear in the last 12 months. More of that, and less fancy-dress karaoke, and Music Go Music could find themselves keeping company with their obvious heroes.
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Click here to get your copy of Music Go Music’s ‘Expressions’ from the Rough Trade shop.