REVIEW: Young and Sexy: Stand Up For Your Mother
Young and Sexy: Stand Up For Your Mother [Mint Records, 2002] (mp3s)
Three words? Pop that's smudged.
Despite the snowy landscape of its cover, Stand Up For Your Mother is all about snazzy cymbals and the heated dancefloors of England's pansiest discos. It's wusspop by people with good teeth, by beautiful people who are still depressed, who pull their cardigans tight over bronzed skin. Paul Hixon Pittman sounds a great deal like Hefner's Darren Hayman - he has the same mildly condescending croon - but here it's couched in brighter, polkadot arrangements. The group seems afraid of its strengths, however - on song after song, they shuffle away from the melodic taffy even as it is rolled. "Chikubi" insists on hiding a jazzy ballad within a bed of silly guitar noises and a boring musical interlude. The title track's middle-eight doesn't simply defer the killer final chorus, it makes us forget that we ever even cared.
The problem arises in other forms: the melody in "Lies, Ties, and Battlefields" is reluctant to push through its felty cover; "Television" ends early in order to make room for sampling and schizophrenia. For some bands such experimentation might being a useful diversity... on Stand Up For Your Mother it simply muddies the album's heights. Instead of remembering the ya-ya-ya Sloan pop of "Better" or the giddy guitars of "Bobby Baby", it's the broken-down noise of "Silent Film Star" that sticks in the brain. Young and Sexy do have a fine sense of songcraft, but these cuts linger too long, like party-guests who won't leave until they're convinced they've said something intelligent.
Though "Scott" unfolds with a terrific sense of timing, though the electric rush of "Car Bought For A Reason" gets the pulse flowing, too many of these twelve songs languish, and the album's sonic paints blur. Instead of showing through in bright reds and blues, Young and Sexy's pop is ultimately a smudged watercolour that is altogether too wet.