The Music Lovers: Masculine Feminine

It’s always nice when bands look abroad for inspiration—there’s only so much to discover here in the States, and the vast majority of it has already been beaten to death several times over. San Francisco’s Music Lovers, true to their pretentious name, have a list of favorite artists that reads like a schizophrenic DJ’s setlist at a gay bar in Paris. It may not make much sense at first glance, but there’s something about it that keeps it in heavy rotation on the radio station in the back of my head.

Masculine Feminine sounds like an updated soundtrack to a very irritating French movie. It plays with ideas of male and female identity, with campy vocals and girly melodies interspersed with the occasional searing guitar solo. The album’s 12 tracks are long, and spread out over them are an impressive array of orchestral arrangements that don’t feel crowded or overproduced. Its noisy production may be difficult to overcome, but Matt Edwards’s throbbing tenor has enough weepy, lovelorn beauty to make Morrissey soil his knickers.

The Music Lovers succeed admirably in the charm and cuteness department, with lush brass arrangements and offhand references to obscure films and books. It’s not the most original thing in the world, and one would be justified in accusing it of intellectual whining and wimpiness. But if that’s your thing, there’s no better place to find your fix than on Masculine Feminine. It’s a delightfully fluffy and nonsensical piece of pure pop.

In A Word: Jolly Good