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THE RADIO DEPT. - Clinging To A Scheme

By virtue of its name alone (one that you get the feeling no self-respecting musician would ever choose themselves), twee pop is set up to be derided as slight, trite, and even just plain irrelevant. But it's a little too easy to forget what this stuff does so well. Great pop music—whether it is actually simple or not—needs to state its case with directness and economy. This M.O. fits the understated, pure song structures of most twee bands like a glove.

Of course, in the nineties, when it felt like every third indie band was playing some version of twee, it was pretty easy for most of us to pay attention to only the most exceptional of the genre (i.e. Belle & Sebastian) while letting the majority fall by the wayside. But with a second wave of this stuff hitting its stride here in North America (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the Slumberland records revival in general), it might be nice to dig a little deeper, and there's no better contemporary place to start than Sweden's The Radio Dept., a group from one of the countries that has helped keep this genre's flame alive through the 2000s.

Clinging To A Scheme is a exceptional study in everything that makes delicate pop music such a pleasure to experience. Barely-there vocals and spritely hooks abound—it's remarkable how quickly each of these tunes zero in on your pleasure centres. Even better, it intelligently expands its own sonic palette continually—delving subtly into the worlds of hip hop and samples—without ever seeming contrived. Succinct and beautiful songs done to perfection.

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