Paintbox

Here's to Modern Living

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

The group's third album is a throwback to '60s British Invasion pop/rock, with sweet harmonies and infectious melodies. "45 Degrees" and "Over My Head" are eerily similar to fellow Canadian rock band Sloan during their "Coax Me" period. They dish out one singalong track after another in the toe-tapping "Fay Wray," which comes across as a 54-40 B-side, before closing in a blaze of '70s Southern rock riffs. Aspects of the album which shouldn't be underrated are the brief yet pretty instrumentals booking the two songs, particularly the space rock or art rock of "Park Road Twilight." "Theme in E (See the Sun)" consists of some progressive rock ideas also built behind a deliberate backbeat. The range from which the group can move is also a great asset, as evident in the ambient and atmosphere-building "Camera." While high in some places, there are a few nadirs within the album, although they don't dampen the overall effort. "Modern Living" is daring, but the payoff is minimal at best. But thankfully these songs are also the briefest -- perhaps unfinished ideas put to tape regardless. "Spanish Villa" is a sprawling finale, though, ending with a touch of Beatles arrangements with a viola and orchestral climax. The band survives a few short rough spots to create a very enjoyable album.

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