With their sophomore effort, San Francisco's Dealership offers up a disc packed with boy/girl pop/rock anthems. Overflowing with what have become Weezer-trademarked "oohs," "ahhs," "las," and "bas," TV Highway to the Stars is a pretty record that seems to have been constructed using a formula that is all but set in stone: a steadily strummed bar-chord pattern with a slightly varied bassline over top, dynamic shifts here and there, switching up crystal guitars for playfully fuzzy ones, and boy/girl vocals duals. While this is not a bad formula, after the first few songs it becomes clear that the band doesn't have anything else up its sleeve. This also means that there is little middle ground where this band is concerned; since their music doesn't vary much, you'll either love the whole record or dislike it.
For the boys' part, the vocals tend to hover in a territory that combines an affable mix of Mac McCaughan, Billy Corgan, and Ira Kaplan -- generally quiet, but with occasional outbursts. For her part, Miyuki Jane Pinckard's vocals stay in a sweet register akin to Imperial Teen, the Rentals, and occasionally the Breeders.
Though they never completely lose their endearingly cutesy air, Dealership makes a good go of it on darker and frankly more interesting tracks like "Faded Crushes," on which a particularly hot-under-the-collar McCaughan-esque vocalist insists, "You'll never know if I kiss on the first date/You f*ck better in my sweater/I'm much better f*cking with your head."
With songs in French ("Toujours Ta Fille") and Japanese ("Tetsuo"), comparisons to acts like the Shebrews or Mummy the Peepshow are almost inevitable, so suffice it to say the songs are strong, fun, and deserving of those comparisons, and measure up favorably. While "bland" may be too strong of a word, the biggest problem with TV Highway to the Stars is the lack of spontaneity. Even the songs that break out a little and try to rock feel as though they're being held back. Loosen up kids, it's only rock & roll.