I Love Math

Getting to the Point Is Beside It

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    7
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I Love Math's easygoing, no-frills take on alternative country-rock is a nice change from the standard supergroup formula, wherein bandmates stack their talents into towering masses of sound. There's nothing grandiose or showy about this sophomore effort, which prizes melodies and light instrumentation over production gloss. Percussionist Philip Peeples (who, just several weeks prior to this album's release, issued a fairly upbeat record with his native Old 97's) doesn't even touch his cymbals, sticking instead to a stripped-down combination of kick drum, snare, and tambourine. Studio trickery is absent and overdubs are scarce -- only the laid-back, handclapped "Josephine Street" sounds at all indebted to the production booth, as its tremolo-laden guitars and serene harmonies share equal space with a French female's voice-over. Even so, the song is a solid example of I Love Math's restraint, and its radio-ready chorus (which, under the leadership of a band like Fountains of Wayne, could transform the tune into a sparkling pop anthem) only rears its tuneful head once. "The Shape of the Sum," "This Is Something I Might Miss," and "Too Many Demons" follow suit, flexing their tuneful muscles without running their hooks into the ground, and the bandmates barrel through the would-be rock song "Some People Get Away" at a comfortable gallop, hardly breaking a sweat but still communicating the tune's energy. Getting to the Point Is Beside It ultimately emerges as an effortless album by a pack of veterans who, after whipping up elaborate entrées with their respective bands, are now content to work with more basic ingredients. For those who like their mix of pop/rock and alt.country served straight up, this is pure comfort food.

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