Ben's Diapers

Middle Eights for Modern Lovers

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Those familiar with past releases from French label Pop the Balloon are likely to be a bit surprised by Middle Eights for Modern Lovers from Finnish quintet Ben's Diapers. Theirs is not the pure strain of power pop that characterizes most of the label's previous output. Instead the group generally works along more folksy, adult alternative pop/rock lines akin in sound (if not in stance) to Barenaked Ladies, with some of the same interesting quirks as that band but without the sometimes-irksome sense of comic irony. What Ben's Diapers do have in abundance is irrepressible guitar jangle of a post-Teenage Fanclub/Gin Blossoms sort and some nice, solid, melodic turns. Of the five selections on this EP, none are especially risk-taking, but all are sturdy, sometimes-muscular pieces of pop, the strongest being the final two tracks: the little-bit-country "Right Away" and the outstanding "Thinking Platonic," which finally finds the band bursting out of their earlier moderate mode with crunching aplomb. So a bit of a surprise from France's finest source of power pop, but definitely of the pleasant variety.

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