Nü-metal thugs may whine and "seminal" riot-grrl groups may split and reform, but through it all, twee pop never goes away. A fiesta of girl-girl harmonies, cuter-than-dimples garage melodies, and hairdos cribbed from "Laverne & Shirley" reruns, twee cherishes the wonder of young love and places a premium on precocity.
The All Girl Summer Fun Band is frontperson Jen Sbragia's attempt to replicate the upbeat recipe that Rose Melberg (Sbragia's co-conspirator in the gentle, guitars-only duo the Softies) perfected in the '90s with Go Sailor and Tiger Trap. "New in Town" begins life as a typical cheery chestnut, only to end with its narrator learning that the hunky newcomer she's been eyeballing is gay. Sbragia makes like a Softie on the intimate "Somehow Angels," a floating ode to friendship. In "Girl #3," a jealous ex-girlfriend admonishes a former paramour, warning, "Someday you'll find/ Linda's lost her mind/ But I've already found another scooter boy," just before a tasty organ hook swoops in to win the sock-hop crown.
Trouble is, the bulk of this 13-track debut doesn't leave a lasting impression. The players seem content to trot out retreads of early-'90s mash-note indie pop. Many tracks coast by on sheer cuteness ("Cutie Pie," the hapless "Later Operator"), gimmicks (the cheesy '70s dialing effects that envelop the 60-second "Cell Phone"), or too-close resemblance to the players' other acts (the sunny "Stumble Over My" is vintage Melberg). It's as if the album were written and recorded in the midst of a 24-hour sugar and Cub binge.
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