German indie poppers Brideshead made their American debut with this retrospective 2002 disc on Shelflife Records. The trio of vocalist Martin Nelte, guitarist Zwen Keller, and bassist Paul Engling were joined by three different drummers on the album, including Daniel Kubsch, Rahoul Anders, and Kai Reinhardt. The band's optimistic and warm twee pop style is immediately evident on the opening track, "Same Story Different Day," with Nelte's vocals dancing on top of the band's summery instrumentation. The pace rarely slows down, and when it does, like on "Books & TV" and "Present Time," the tempo is still warm and inviting. The sixth track, "Books'n'bossa," is, not surprisingly, full of bossa nova influences. The album's love theme is evident on tracks like "Swinging Love," "If You Could Love Me" (a cover of the Edwyn Collins track), and "When I'm in Love." The band also re-recorded the previously released "No Answer" for the Shelflife release. The piano-led instrumental "Morning" closes out the 14-track disc. The band's whimsical and stylish approach, and their near-perfect execution, certainly sets them apart from other European indie pop acts. The band proves it's not a one-trick pony with a dizzying variety of instruments throughout, including synthesizers, piano, cello, violin, and trumpet. The songs on the disc were recorded during different eras of the band, in 1997, 1999, and 2000.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer