Chewy Marble

Bowl of Surreal

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Bowl of Surreal, the appropriately titled sophomore debut from Los Angeles-based popsters Chewy Marble, is another solid pop effort in the same vein as their eponymous debut. Ex-Wondermint Brian Kassan is the mastermind here; the true talent of Bowl of Surreal is its ability to subvert the pop tag by incorporating disparate influences (from an obvious XTC influence to '60s pop like the Zombies and the Turtles, as well as '90s revivalists like Jellyfish). It's no surprise, then, that the album's charm and its flaws are born out of the fact that it's all over the place. So while the jazzy pop of "Reasons Why," the '70s-styled opener "Inside My Head," and the chunky pop of the title track all work very well, there are almost as many slow spots scattered throughout. Bowl of Surreal is not perfect, then, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable and endearingly dynamic sophomore effort.

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