The Camera Loves Me

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There is a stereotype, which like most stereotypes are not always true, that late-20th century British pop was more concerned with style than passion. Would-Be-Goods' first album, however, is a record that does conform to that stereotype. It's breezy, droll, modestly catchy pop with an immaculate craft and certain bemused reserve, like those of young adults dressed to kill but not in the market for a mate. Retro references abound, from girl-group pop, Tropicalia, and glam stomp to Continental European '60s jet-set soundtracks and cool chanteuses (which are particularly evident in "Rose Du Barry"). The singing's a little thin and transparent, but projects the right amount of stylishness for the material. It's the sort of stuff that will drive some who like hard and direct rock up the wall in its studied feyness, its small vignettes of cute boys and fleeting relationships sounding at times like young upscale holidaymakers with a slight hip artsy edge. But it's also got some undeniable soothing bounciness and wit.

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