Lois

Infinity Plus

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AllMusic Review by

Lois' fourth album and last for the K imprint, Infinity Plus was one of three (including Snapshot Radio and the Ship to Shore EP with Dub Narcotic Sound System) in a flurry of Lois material released in the fall of 1996. It follows in the singer's humble tradition of spare, acoustic indie pop, performed with gaunt instrumentation and recorded in a stark, bare-bulb, four-track style. Almost calculated in its initial up-/down-tempo song alternation, the album seems to favor a grand sense of the verse-chorus-verse progression. But, in spite of such a conventional approach to sequencing, the album succeeds on the strength of Maffeo's songs and her savvy choices in collaborators -- Maffeo seems to know exactly who to tap for which song to enhance it just enough without overwhelming her. Low's Alan Sparhawk makes a bed of characteristically beautiful guitar for Lois' voice to sleep in on "A Summer Long" and Elliott Smith lends his soft security blanket of a voice to perfectly back up Lois on "Rougher." Seemingly at odds with her entire oeuvre, Lois openly reviles minimalism on one of Infinity Plus' standout tracks, the thrill-is-gone realization of "Not Funny, Ha-Ha": "Who the f*ck said/Less is more/'Cause you don't/Make me feel funny anymore." However, the remark is telling -- just as the Beat Happening/K Records school of heart-rending twee pop was finally giving way to experimentation and a wider musical scope, Infinity Plus was Lois' fitting goodbye to bedroom-recording aesthetics, skeletal arrangements, and her longtime record label. Thankfully, her winning collaborative instincts and charming in-and-out-of-love songs weren't thrown out with the bath water.

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