If the Waterboys would have been brought up on the Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, they would probably sound a whole lot like Wonderlick. Featuring modestly played folk and alternative rock filtered through dream pop guitar and electronic percussion, Wonderlick's eponymous debut is a coy, curious offering from the band. On one hand, they can make this sound come together into a beautiful combination of pop and nonsense. Take "How Small You Are" as an example. It tries to incorporate beautiful female vocals, but includes all the takes of her screwing up, too. The song stops at several points, only to change around the percussion and add other elements. And the gorgeous singing is offset by the goofy male vocals that perform the verses. But they still manage to turn it into a memorable and fun pop song, even if the route they take to get there is different. Their cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is a folky ballad that flows nicely, but it still fails to capture the yearning and desperation that Ian Curtis' original version provides. That song points out their weakest point: their overt quirkiness. Where it can work for them on certain tracks, they carry the cutesy phrasing and wide-eyed approach to its natural end and keep going. It takes a good balance to make that approach work, but they lean too close to the cute side. But even if they are guilty of this, they also provide some gorgeous pop songs that make many of the complaints about the band sound silly. "Black Box" is a swirling combination of the afore-mentioned elements that balances on the occasional ding or pop, resulting in a delicate pop song that succeeds brilliantly. There are more occurrences of this, but this is the yin and yang of Wonderlick's debut; they craft great pop music, but they don't always get the delivery right. They might be rough around the edges now, but they have the potential to really become great if they tweak their style enough. As it stands, this is a good album that might be too cute and goofy for some listeners.
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AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano