Strawberry Whiplash

Hits in the Car

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The duo of vocalist Sandra and instrumentalist Laz keep things simple on Strawberry Whiplash's debut album Hits in the Car. Sticking with the near-perfect blend of jangle and fuzz they'd displayed on previous singles and EPs, the album sounds like a well-crafted update on the classic girl pop sound of bands like the Shop Assistants and Heavenly. Using a basic guitar-bass-drums set-up, Laz doesn't reinvent the pop wheel at all; he's better at providing a comfortable bed of sound for Sandra's endlessly sweet vocals. She has a perfectly pitched pop voice that's equally at home delivering both the melancholy and bouncing along happily. The songs on the album are split pretty evenly along those lines, with the uptempo tracks coming off the best. "Picture Perfect" sounds like a single the Darling Buds wish they had written, "What Do They Say About Me" has a nice girl group dreaminess, and "Stop, Look and Listen" has a cute little hook. Though the record is on-the-nose '90s girl pop worship, the duo manage to get a little adventurous and drop some shoegaze into the mix on the hypnotic "Sleepy Head." Hits in the Car won't win too many points for originality, but thanks to the solid songcraft, the pleasant sounds, and most of all, Sandra's vocals, the album is a success.

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