Rooftop Suicide Club

Always Like This

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One might reasonably expect a band called Rooftop Suicide Club to be an angular, aggrieved bunch of post-hardcore noise freaks. This makes the sweet-natured power pop of the Massachusetts-based band's debut album quite a surprise: singers Chris Haskell and Jeff Gobush favor low-key harmonies and conversational lyrics set to catchy guitar-and-keyboard tunes. Points of comparison include Teenage Fanclub, Fountains of Wayne, their Stop Pop and Roll labelmate Ad Frank. (The rueful but affectionate "Indie Girl," with lines like "She's got an eBay store filled with thrift shop clothes," set to an arrangement including a subtle brass flourish, sounds like a combination of all three at once.) These 13 songs occasionally are almost too laid-back; while ballads like "More Like You" are well served by the album's general sense of mellowness, some of the more up-tempo songs would have benefited from a greater sense of urgency. Overall, however, Always Like This is a strongly melodic dose of sophisticated pop.

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