Heralded by many as the banner carriers of power pop for the 21st century, few bands have displayed such a mastery of pop songcraft on a debut release. Though not horribly adventurous with their sound, the unabashed reliance on sophisticated harmonic vocal arrangements, fuzzed out guitars, and occasional brass sections was seen as near revelatory in some critical circles. No doubt, the sweeping Big Star-inspired melodic progressions of tracks like "Shine" and "To See and Be Seen" more than deserved the accolades that The Subversive Sounds of Love garnered. When upping the tempo and volume on tracks like the galloping "Paid in Kind" or the punchy "Vertigogo," Frisbie can sound downright anthemic, though the more California-styled rock of "Disaster" probably fits their sound just as well. Still, it's hard to say that you ever get a real sense of the group dynamic that's at work in the process. And while that process delivers on an undeniably cohesive pop product, the personalities involved are never totally evident. An exception to this, the album closes with the theatrical whimsy of piano and banjo in "The Shuffle," proving the band can put a more pronounced face on their sound. Although artists like this emerge on a semi-frequent basis, and usually don't amount to very much in the long term, Frisbie gives hope to the power pop true believers. -AMG
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