Thu Nov 18 2010
The new wave of Chicago-style (via Philadelphia if you're Jukebox The Ghost) deep dish danceable prog is alive and well in the rhythmic chug that opens this album (“Schizophrenia”), but even though Everything Under The Sun is as eclectic as its title suggests, there’s not much prog here.  There’s not-as-clever-as-they-think sucker-punch indie (“Summer Sun”, “The Stars”), a heavy dose of übergeekpop á la They Might Be Giants (“Half Crazy”, “Carrying”), and lots of sensitive, earnest-guy piano rock (“Empire”, “Mistletoe”, etc.).  It’s all shrinkwrapped in a pop-punk glaze, not too glossy for the most part but tight and slick.

With two non-distinctive vocalists and no stylistic hallmarks from any of the instruments, these guys need irresistible hooks to succeed, and they’ve got ‘em.  Ben Thornewill and Tommy Siegel are unrepentant cheeseballs, but they’ve crafted some wonderful vocal melodies and harmonies on these tunes, and they have the dexterity to pull them off.  The way they put the disparate elements of the songs together is weird science at times, which makes the catchiness all the more brilliant.  The biggest problem is that everything is so bright and airy, you don’t feel as if there’s any weight behind the words, and that’s not what they’re going for.  It’s a case of mismatched ambitions; too much happening but nothing much going on.

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