Pearl & the Oysters

Canned Music

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Pearl & the Oysters' second album, Canned Music, combines the groovy sounds of '60s French pop, the zippy feel of '90s space age pop, the whimsical nature of the best novelty pop throughout the ages, and a joyful kitchen-sink approach to arrangements. The end result is a cheerful sonic treat that's frothy fun to the last bite. Multi-instrumentalist Joachim Polack and vocalist Juliette Davis may have deep musical training that includes degrees from the Sorbonne, but they aren't even the least bit interested in creating anything serious or important here. They'd rather make music that gives the sunshine in their adopted home of Florida a run for its money in the brightness stakes. The songs are as light as an evening breeze and as fluffy as whipped cream; they sing about manatees, mermaid parades, video games, outer space, and other frivolous topics while the music bubbles, shines, and happily unwinds like a day at the cutest, chillest beach imaginable. Davis has a sweetly elastic voice that makes it easy for her to inhabit characters and set moods, while Polack and a cast of friends like Carlos Valderrama of Fitness Forever and Alex Brettin of Mild High Club fill the arrangements with vintage keys, perfectly plucked guitars, swooning cocktail horns, and tinny drum machines. Whether crafting songs that sway and swoon like lost hits of the '50s ("Mercury Comet Caliente," "Darlin' II"), spacy rockers that would fit nicely next to Komeda on a playlist ("Kid Manatee"), or tracks that blend their influences into something less easy to categorize (like the echoing sophisticated pop of "Electronic Boogaloo" and the giddy lo-fi electropop gem "Randi"), the duo proves to be a wonderful partnership. Canned Music is truly a delight, ticking so many boxes that it's hard to imagine any fans of the oddball pop of the past 50 or so years not finding something about the album to love. It's even easier to imagine them loving the whole thing and sharing it breathlessly with their like-minded friends.

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