Math and Physics Club

I Shouldn't Look as Good as I Do

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Math and Physics Club's second album, I Shouldn’t Look as Good as I Do, finds the group pared down to a trio. A heavily bespectacled trio, as the cover illustrates. This downsizing hasn’t changed the group’s sound much, though. They still play a light and nimble brand of indie pop pitched somewhere between early Belle & Sebastian and late-period Lucksmiths. At their best, as on tracks like the nostalgic “Jimmy Had a Polaroid,” the gently rollicking “I’ll Tell You Anything,” and the fragile ballad “I’ve Been That Boy,” they come pretty close to equaling their heroes both musically and lyrically. At the very least, they are on par with the best of their contemporaries. The problem with the record is that these moments are in the minority this time out and too many of the songs have a half-finished feel, a half-baked lyrical conceit, or an overly twee sound. After having taken three years since the last record and at only ten songs, you’d hope they could fill the record up with the kind of great indie pop they’ve recorded in the past, but it just doesn’t happen. Maybe some more time off would have led to better songs, but it seems possible that Math and Physics Club may have run their course. Judging by the lyrics of the last song, “We’re So DIY!,” which attempt to joke about hanging out with Tullycraft and selling hand-designed records and badges at shows but come off instead as mean-spirited and unnecessarily sarcastic, they might just feel the same way.

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