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11 songs about a nonexistent affair

By AMANDA WALTZ Staff Writer

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This Affair Never Happened … And Here Are 11 Songs About It

The Bigger…

This Affair Never Happened … And Here Are 11 Songs About It

The Bigger Lovers

Yep Roc records

Recommended if you like: Fountains of Wayne; fun, yet affected, pop

The December 2003 issue of GQ magazine characterizes the ever-neglected genre known as power pop as having “… a catchy chorus, big guitar riffs and an overall cheeriness. The music of Philadelphia-based band The Bigger Lovers fits this definition perfectly, especially in their newest album — released in March — This Affair Never Happened … And Here Are 11 Songs About It.

Described as being recorded sometime between Rosh Hashanah and Halloween, the album itself is its own fun little holiday. As the foursome’s third major release, following 2001’s How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Honey in the Hive, This Affair Never Happened … is a wonderful collection of tracks that, unlike much of the music in the pop genre, is successful atbeing playful and bouncy, yet never annoying. From the get-go, the album sounds like a combination between a one-hit wonder from the late 1960s and a selection from the early days of Elvis Costello.

The album’s first two tracks, “You (You, You)” and “I Resign,” are upbeat, with rhythms that harken back to Dick Clark and American Bandstand. This sound is coupled with jaded lyrics, many of which deal with love gone wrong. At some points, it’s almost amusing to hear bassist/songwriter Scott Jefferson’s voice cheerfully whine things like “same old shit/different year/it’s great to fear the things you can’t control” over a toe-tapping beat.

The rest of the album features both engagingly powerful rock — like the speedy “Blowtorch”– and swaying ballads. “Ninja Suit” and “Hollywood,” for example, are two prom-dance slow songs accented with guitar riffs that crescendo and soaring, harmonized vocals. One can hear the melancholy nature of “Hollywood” as guitarist Bret Tobias sighs “it’s hard to sleep/when the shit is ankle deep/but I still dream/and in a funny way/it’s not as bad as it might seem,” adding to the flowing, yet sad sound of the song.

The album finishes with “For Christ’s Sake,” homage to a cold and lonely Christmas in Pennsylvania. This clever track is distinctive with its transitions between a happy falsetto chorus wishing a merry Christmas and happy New Year, to lyrics begging, “Come back to me, my love/for Christ’s Sake.” By the end of the song, the listener does not know whether to start caroling or pine over some long lost love.

This new effort from The Bigger Lovers makes for a pleasing experience that is a careful balance between cynical bitterness and beautiful chords.

Fortunately, The Bigger Lovers are taking their unforgettable melodies on tour this spring. Look for them during their stop in Pittsburgh on April 7 at the Club Cafe.

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11 songs about a nonexistent affair