REVIEW: Saturday Looks Good To Me: All Your Summer Songs
Saturday Looks Good To Me: All Your Summer Songs [Polyvinyl, 2003] (mp3)
Three words? Summer of '64
I love it when, before you can even crack its shrink-wrap cellophane, an album's cover art tells you exactly what you will be listening to. Saturday Looks Good To Me have taken this aesthetic convenience to a whole new level on All Your Summer Songs: the cover's pixelated photograph shows the mop-haired band incredulously examining 45s, each to varying degrees of intensity, each more thrift-store-threaded out than the next. It's a perfect summation of these 60's-jacking rockers and their latest collection of sincerely flattering imitations.
Besides being a catchy, sunny, reverb-y record, appealing for both casual and formal listening, the real fun of All Your Summer Songs is in guessing the influences behind each track. "The Sun Doesn't Want To Shine" made me think instantly of the heart-aching Rolling Stones ballads on Sticky Fingers, particularly "Moonlight Mile." "Meet Me By the Water" has a childlike innocence reminiscent of Beat Happening's "Indian Summer," but with lush drums and infectious piano - like a slightly water-damaged copy of Abbey Road.
The curious thing about All Your Summer Songs is how good an instrument or effect can sound on one song, and then how horrible that same instrument or effect sounds on another song. For example: the drums on "You Work All Weekend" bring to mind The Ronettes and Jackie Wilson, beautifully augmenting the snappy little number. But when that same echoing drum effect is used on "Ambulance," it compromises the integrity of the lazy, shuffling pace - and makes for an all-around muddy recording. In fact, it's really a shame how the lo-fi engineering, which lends a charming appeal to most of the album, really fails to express the potential of a few songs here. "No Good With Secrets" suffers from a steady stream of static and tape-hiss pouring from the right speaker, and the vocals on "Caught" are similarly hindered.
All Your Summer Songs is flawed but never obnoxious, saccharine without being sappy. Saturday Looks Good To Me truly love their 60s pop, and it's evident not only in how they emulate the hooks and instrumentation of that era, but also in how they attempt to approximate the warm cadence of listening to dusty vinyl on crappy belt-driven turntables. All Your Summer Songs proves it: everything was better before you were born.