By Frank Krolicki
One of the most-played albums on my iPod last summer was Leather Silk from My My My. It was full of well-written, off-kilter power-pop that cemented the band as one of my favorites. They really seemed to hit their stride on it, and an excellent single that followed shortly after ("War Party") only made me love them more. Not wasting much time getting back to the studio, My My My are now out with a new EP titled Wishing You Whatever's Best. It's another solid set of tunes, this time adding in an extra dancey kick and playing up the synths.
Even though words like "poppy" and "dancey" are not off-base, this isn't just any dull night at the prom. Take a look at the CD's artwork and you see that people have been beaten up, the cake has been smashed and the girl is pissed off. This is a good reflection of the music; on the surface it's shiny, fun and lets you whip out some of your best dance moves. But listen closer and it becomes clear that there's plenty of dysfunction to go around, with lyrics of desperate characters and strained relationships.
Featuring a chorus of "If we kiss real hard the city lights'll turn to stars," "Hard Kisses" starts things the EP off with its most upbeat, starry-eyed sentiment. Still, there are hints of weariness and trepidation--take the opening lyrics: "I need someone to lay on / You'll do better than most / It's a chance I'm willing to take before I go." Musically, it's a driving number that showcases what My My My does best--charming, hummable pop music with a quirky twist. As with previous releases, one of the most interesting elements of My My My's sound on Wishing You is the interplay between the vocals of Russell Baylin and Sarah Snow. It works to full effect on this track, with Baylin starting off, Snow joining in with a second vocal part and both of them working together on the immediately catchy chorus.
"24 Hour Love Affair" and "Does the Sun Know It's a Dying Star?" are two more lively, dancey tracks, the former with Snow on lead vocal. "Middle Age Hardware and Youthful Indiscretions is a jittery, fast-paced jolt of indie rock that originally appeared on 2008's Little Cat Plays the Alpha Rave, re-recorded and spruced up for Wishing You. The aforementioned standalone single "War Party" is also included here and rightfully so--it fits in very well with the rest of the material and remains one of their best songs to date. Closing track "Gospel Choirs for Earrings" is uncharacteristic of the rest of the EP, but that doesn't matter much because it's pretty damn amazing. It's a somber piano track with an impressive vocal from Baylin and clever lyrics like "Flying is just the same as falling but with a better attitude" and "On my way to being a saint / I had to stop and smoke."
My My My's releases have consistently managed to find the perfect space between left-of-center and unpredictable and catchy and fun, and Wishing You Whatever's Best is no exception. It has already claimed its place as another summer hit on my iPod.
The EP is available now via all the usual digital outlets, or you can get a hard copy and see the band in action tonight, July 1st, at Beat Kitchen when they open for Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea (My My My are on at 9; more info and tickets here).