B'ehl

Bright Eyes

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The first album by the half-boy, half-girl Winnipeg, Manitoba, quartet B'ehl sounds like a five-years-too-late entry in the twee pop explosion of the mid-'90s. The two female singers, acoustic guitarist Melanie Barnes and guitarist/pianist Allison Somers, have the requisite helium-pitched voices and blithe unconcern over subtleties of pitch, and all four play with more amateurish enthusiasm than heavy chops. Song titles include faux-naïf proclamations like "I'm Sorry for Being Such a Crappy Friend" and lyrics feature reveries about pink stars and Mies van der Rohe. It would all be unbearably cutesy but for the fact that Barnes and Somers are actually quite gifted songwriters, with a better than usual knack for catchy twee-pop melodies and lyrics that tend to be more acutely self-aware than ickily self-absorbed. The best tracks are the ballads, like the piano-based "This I Know," which recalls the more lyrical moments of the late Suddenly, Tammy! Bright Eyes will not change the mind of anyone averse to this style of indie pop, but it's a delightful find for fans of the genre.

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