Marching Band

Pop Cycle

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Swedish pop exports Marching Band deliver a slightly darker but no less catchy collection of songs with the duo's 2010 sophomore effort, Pop Cycle. Having recorded the band's 2008 debut Spark Large in Los Angeles, main songwriters Erik Sunbring and Jacob Lind moved back to Sweden for Pop Cycle. Recorded during a bleak winter with well-known Swedish producer Jari Haapalainen (Camera Obscura, Ed Harcourt, the Concretes), the resulting album is a move away from the frothy, West Coast sound of Spark Large and toward a more sustained, introverted palette. Which isn't to say these songs don't retain much of the hummable melodic pop that made Spark Large such an addictive listen. On the contrary, songs like "It Will Never Slip" and "It's Not Your Dream (But His)" bring to mind the mature and layered sound of such Teenage Fanclub albums as Howdy and Man-Made. Elsewhere, tracks like the rambling "Something Stops" and "Pink Elephant" are little rhythmic and moody pop nuggets. Ultimately, as with all of Pop Cycle's material, songs like the swirling, piano-driven opening cut "Another Day" and the sparkling "Uncomfortably Numb," while melancholy and bittersweet in tone, still grab your ear as much as they break your heart.

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