Peculiarly named Kawaii raise eyebrows with their album If It Shines, We Have It. The band hails from Norway, and their lighthearted outlook is apparent from the start. The duo of Mats Jorgensen and Hedda Fredly provide the bulk of Kawaii's creative madness. Song titles like "Happy People, Scary Planet," "They Would Probably Talk, Sleep, or Fuck," and "The Concept of Being a Slightly Wounded Bear" hint at the band's outside-of-the-box thinking. The title track quickly entrances listeners with the band's mellow indie pop tendencies. The pair's back-and-forth vocals on "Even Lineup" are engaging, and the instrumental tempo reaches a new peak on this track as well. The simplicity of the homemade songs adds up to an increasingly warm, sentimental, and homey feel. The keyboards on "Paper Sun" rile up the pace, while the next track, "Best Friends," quickly subdues it. "Cotton Elbows" and "I Wore a Smile" entrance already entranced listeners with a steady pace of blips and bleeps. The simplicity of the album's songs result into a surprisingly compelling creation of less-is-more twee pop. "Hard to Get Sleep" concludes the 13-track disc with a soft duet. Robert Pietrusko and Andrew Printz added instrumentation to half the tracks on If It Shines, We Have It, which was released by Shelflife Records in 2004.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer