I’m a sucker for a good pop tune no matter who’s at the helm and no matter how popular or unpopular the singer or producer is that’s making it. But it seems that so often these days pop has been bastardized by folks who don’t seem to understand that it can be so easily misconstrued if a little bit of effort is not taken to keep it simple. This idea of simple pop, though not to call it “dumbed down” in any way, is the kind of pop that the Austin, Texas two-piece onetwothreescream play. The duo is made of of producer Mark Addison and songwriter Jana Pochop.
From the very first song on their six-song release Lit, one understands that they are in the presence of musicians who know their way around when it comes to writing a song. The opening track “You Lit Me” presents a syncopated Casio keyboard style beat and simple drum machine beats. But its Pochop’s vocals here, candy coated and sweet, combined with her sharp and witty lyrics such as “You love science I made art / Both work in a beautiful machine” and the wonderful chorus, “We can scrape stuff out of mountains / To power this city / We’ve been screaming through outer space / Since the ‘60s / But I’m not brave enough to tell you how much you lit me up.”
Next comes the upbeat acoustic guitar driven riff (which sounds so much like the brighter songs of the Cure) “Fault Lines.” If you’re not moving your head or tapping your feet to this tune you should probably check your pulse cuz you might be dead.
Another thing onetwothreescream do so well together is find the line between electronic arrangements and plain old hard-edged musicianship which they showcase on the radio-friendly rocker “Do the Work” and on the somber acoustic layered ballad “The First Cold War.” Then just when you think you’re going to get some more of the same they take a detour into a more spastic realm and change it up without going overboard.
They take chances even though they don’t always connect as evenly as they may have hoped, as is evidenced on the closing track “Money & Heart.” Still this is how and why a band like onetwothreescream is able to shell out the kind of idyllic pop that they do with such authority. They believe in what they’re doing and I think listeners will too.
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