The Loch Ness Mouse

Flair for Darjeeling

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When thinking of bands that create dreamy, harmony-heavy jangle pop, one normally thinks of Beach Boys heyday era California, or even the new wave of retro-pop welling up in London. However, as fans of bands like the Bartlebees and the Tables know, Norway should be near the top of that list as well. Appearing on Oslo's renowned Perfect Pop label, the sugarpop sounds of the Loch Ness Mouse are right at home among that label's roster of shimmering acts, including the Bartlebees and the Tables. Hailing from near Holland (pronounced "Hayland"), Norway, the Loch Ness Mouse makes music that proudly exhibits their fondness of bands like the Beatles and Beach Boys and, in turn, sometimes comes across as a much more polished Gerbils or Minders. The album's title is a reference to the band's home of Skulerud, which finds itself at the end of a railway, as does Darjeeling (also famous for tea). The pop couldn't be more perfect (sorry), as huge, gorgeous vocal harmonies drive songs with inescapable hooks, especially album opener "Judy." The music is the sonic equivalent of pure sunshine, but the Mouse's merrily strummed confections don't come across as gimmicky or ironic, which is nice. "15th Floor" rocks out in a Replacements-meets-Madder Rose-meets-early-R.E.M. sort of way, while "Faces Around Me" has a fun Monkees air about it. "(I Was A) Fan From the Start" is super cute and instantly catchy, and "The Joys Must Never End" offers up a big Guided By Voices style riff and lyrics about running for hours through the flowers. Warm, fuzzy music well suited for listening to on a sunny day with the convertible top down, or zipping down the lane on a scooter. Guaranteed to brighten up rainy days as well (and put Prozac out of business). Adorable.

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