Sleeping in the Aviary

You and Me, Ghost

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The general air of gently energetic "'70s power pop and '80s indie rock in the 2010s" that Sleeping in the Aviary specialize in continues without a break on You and Me, Ghost, perhaps with a little less overt wackiness in the song titles but otherwise keeping to its own breezily fun course. If anything, the XTC influences that have lurked a bit in their work come a bit more to the fore here, whether it's the quick herky-jerk of a song like "Love Police" or the harmonies on "Talking Out of Turn." But there's an even earlier jauntiness that comes to the fore -- it isn't the swing revival or any similar monstrosity but an uptempo feeling that sometimes plays against what's going on with the lyrics (thus talking about puking "On the Way Home") and at other points matches it. As before, there are a couple of jarring notes -- whatever the exact sentiments of the '20s vaudeville-tinged number, "Are You Afraid of Being Poor?" seems like a loaded title in 2011 when it wasn't a choice for an increasing number of people, for example -- but the equally then-and-now feeling of "Karen, You're an Angel," a slightly barbed celebration of a long-lived couple's life, puts things on a more even keel. There's also something fun to hearing loud guitars that sound more appropriate on breezy power pop efforts instead of full-on metal -- it's not that it's rare, it's just always a treat to hear when done well.

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