The Shermans

Happiness Is Toy Shaped

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer

The Shermans kick off Happiness Is Toy Shaped with a continuance of the indie pop that has garnered them worldwide acclaim. A simple piano melody provides a backdrop for Ingela Matsson's vocals on the first track, "Boy With the Bright Eyes." The pace rises and falls throughout the disc, with Mikael Matsson providing the music on guitars, farfisa, piano, and Moog keyboards. Christer Nilsson chimes in on bass guitar duties. The music continues to be bright-sounding, with mostly bright lyrical themes as well, despite some weighty subject matter. Even "The Umbrella Song" sings of summertime rain and the inability to stay dry, all with an overriding sense of optimism in voice and instrumentation. Themes of regret, contemplation, and strained interpersonal relationships are repeated throughout the album. The Shermans' bittersweet jangle pop stylings are taken to a new level on this album. The album was recorded in 2000 in Stockholm, Sweden, at Audiophonic Soundlab and was mastered by Jon Chaikin of Nonstop Sound in the United States. Piano and Moog are highlighted differently on the final track, appropriately titled "The Last One." It serves as a perfect album-closer, with Matsson's vocals serving as a backing instrument on this one.

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