Goodnight Monsters

The Brain That Wouldn't Die

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Listening to Finland's Goodnight Monsters is like eating cotton candy with a root beer float chaser: pure sugar rush from start to finish. Their debut album, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, is loaded with lightweight, hooky tunes that don't have a single ounce of seriousness or reality to be found anywhere. If you are looking for either of those things, you'll probably want to break something after hearing the record. Don't stress, though; you can find seriousness and reality pretty much anywhere you turn these days. Finding a group that would rather be goofy (with killer melodies, no less) is much more difficult. Finding a group that can pull off being silly without being stupid and childlike without being childish -- that is harder still. These guys pull it off three ways: memorable and almost painfully melodic tunes; the occasional midtempo ballad that comes close to having some kind of content ("Back Porch," "Big Jet"); and surprises like the nine-minute-long rocker "Demonstrator," which shows the bandmembers can play for real if they want to. At their best, Goodnight Monsters capture the spirit of 1986 as typified by the BMX Bandits, have the feel of 1968 bubblegum groups like the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and bop with the timelessly youthful simplicity of Jonathan Richman. A fine debut from a band you have to hope never grows up.

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