Blissful popsters Pas/Cal debuted their graceful pop sound with The Handbag Memoirs EP in 2002. Having impressed Le Grand Magistery owner Matthew Jacobson with their demo, the Detroit band quickly polished the six songs that would construct this impressive first effort. Opening with the cleverly titled "The Bronze Beached Boys (Come on Let's Go)," the song encapsulates the band's light and lively pop sound, rising and falling in unabashed glee, led by Casimer Pascal's brooding, falsetto lead vocals. While "I'd Bet Your Life That You Bet Your Life" at first seems to be toned down, the song's initial downbeat tones are quickly overwhelmed by the group's cheerful pop sensibilities. The album's refined pop reaches its peak on the blissfully catchy "I Wanna Take You Out in Your Holiday Sweater," with Mortain adding a festive trumpet throughout. The song, and most of the disc, screams of a return to indie pop's past, most notably to Holiday's unabashed optimism. The instrumental "Marion/Mariam" stands out as a textured intermission, and "This Ain't for Everyone" closes out the disc with the band's thoughtful, acoustic contemplation. The song proves the band is certainly not a one-trick pony, shining a light on Pascal as a balladeer, able to change tempo without forsaking artistry. Drummer Little Tommy Daniels and guitarist Gene Corduroy are joined by the First James Last Singers on two tracks, and Dan Ladouceur adds trumpet.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer