May 14, 2013 - Eighty One Twenty Three
This Century might be on the Maine’s record label, but the Arizona quartet bear little resemblance to their Copper State brethren. Instead, these AP 100 Bands You Need To Know alumni trade in Top 40-calibrated pop, bolstered by huge electronic beats and dressed up with plenty of shine and sheen. The heavy-handed production can at times be a distraction, but you get the sense that these would be great songs even without the studio trickery (see the stomping hit-in-the-making “Bleach Blonde,” the achingly sweeping “Tip Toe” and the white-boy funk of “My Weakness”). Creating an even more interesting wrinkle is frontman Joel Kanitz’s voice, which bears resemblance to Augustana’s Dan Layus and results in an interesting contrast that somehow works more often than not. Ultimately, those after the album’s best songs to spin on a sunny summer day should stick to the first half, as things lose a little steam by album’s end; still, Biography Of Heartbreak is one of the better pop albums you’ll hear this year.