Checklist for Love


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Checklist for Love Review

by Mark Deming

Blending the sweetly sunny attitude of the K Records clique with the melodic sophistication of more grown-up pop enthusiasts, Insta is the sort of band so engaging, fresh-faced, and eager to please that you want to give them a big hug and a cup of cocoa. Adam Cooper's songs boast a junior-Bacharach tunefulness along with a pop classicist's love for simple and strong guitar figures (jangly and otherwise), while his spouse and collaborator Catherine Cooper has the sort of breathy voice that doubtless makes skinny pop boys swoon the whole world over. Insta's first full-length album, Checklist for Love, sounds like some sort of hooky pop soufflé -- delicious, but so airy and light that at moment one fears a heavy tread on the floor or a slam of the door will make the whole thing collapse. It's lovely stuff, but just a bit on the slight side; as pleasing as the songs (and the performances) happen to be, most of them follow a very similar formula, and while the material is uniformly strong, by the end of the disc Insta appears to have said about all they have to say a couple times over. Still, there's some very genuine talent in this group, and enough of Checklist for Love sounds like pure pop heaven that it's hard not to imagine they won't have something even stronger to offer the next time they enter their studio.

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