Mecca Normal

The Observer

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Mecca Normal frontwoman Jean Smith cooks up an ingenious idea for a concept album with The Observer, which tackles the pros and woes of online dating with results that wind up mixed. Launched with "I'm Not into Being the Woman You're with While You're Looking for the Woman You Want," the actual song is less involved than its lengthy title suggests, as Mecca guitarist David Lester pumps out a memorable riff amid an otherwise sparse, crisp presentation. Tracks like the poppish "Attraction Is Ephemeral" and the muscular rocker "I'll Call You" are equally alluring, but the duo falls off balance with the painfully long "Fallen Skier." At 12 minutes, this rant about bad Wi-Fi-secured dates is just aimless and barely tuneful, while "The Caribou & the Oil Pipeline" finds Smith caterwauling the line "Didn't think I could write a hit but I had to try," with her tongue planted firmly in cheek.

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