Bubblegum Lemonade

Some Like It Pop

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Lawrence McCluskey loves jangle pop, which is no news to anyone who has heard his work with his project Bubblegum Lemonade (which most of the time is just McCluskey and his home recording setup). But the third Bubblegum Lemonade album, Some Like It Pop, suggests that jangle pop likes McCluskey more and more with each passing year. Stylistically, Some Like It Pop isn't terribly different than BL's previous work, which is to say it follows the path of left-of-center pop music from the Byrds through the C-86 era to Teenage Fanclub and Primal Scream, but McCluskey's myriad obsessions seem better unified into a warm and melodic style of their own in this third go-round. The tunes move more gracefully on Some Like It Pop, and the overall tone is more playful and a bit less self-conscious than it was on BL's sometimes clumsy debut. McCluskey is still the principal creative voice on this set, but he does bring in a few friends to add vocal and instrumental flourishes, and the result is an album that sounds and feels more organic and comfortable than what one might expect from Bubblegum Lemonade, even on the tracks that only feature McCluskey. And while Some Like It Pop is a considerable distance from wacky, there's more easygoing humor to be found on this album, as indicated in song titles like "Famous Blue Anorak," "Dead Poets Make Me Smile," and "Mr. Dreaming's Bland House." In some respects, Bubblegum Lemonade still sounds as much like a fan's project as a "real" band, but McCluskey has at least made an album that suggests he's a promising semipro rather than a hobbyist, and Some Like It Pop is his best and most engaging music to date.

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