There was a point, maybe five years ago, where this sort of music, chemically engineered in irony-free zones, was in fashion. It was the time of the Scottish takeover, when the airwaves were filled with Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, and the Magic Numbers. Music that seemed to glamorize running through fields in the 1960s, fields where white dresses are never muddied even after rainstorms. Acid House Kings have been producing this brand of inveterately non-cynical music for the better part of 20 years, and judging by Music Sounds Better With You, the world has not intruded on their idyllic view of things.

But I think that hardly anyone thinks of unvarnished idealism when they think of the 1960s today. Blame Mad Men, blame the ageing of the baby boomers, blame history itself, but the illusion of the 1960s as some romantic ideal has receded, not replaced by cynicism, but by a hardened realism. Which makes music of this variety seem naive rather than innocent, blind rather than nostalgic.

When I heard the first two tracks, my mind was nearly swallowed by an image of a bleach blonde man with a mop-top haircut, guitar strap so tight that the guitar sat by his chest, not his waist. The lyrics and performance suggest that the same man is using the band to practice his English diction before doing a study abroad programme with the Brady Bunch.

The twee-ness of the record is considerably softened when Julia Lannerheim takes the lead in track 3. She approaches her performance as that of a character in a musical, which is a much more palatable interpretation that suits music from a fictional void.

The album almost entirely justifies its own existence with the melancholy tones of 'There is Something Beautiful'; the longest track on the record, it's also the most honest, a wistful break from the unabashed tones preceding it. It's almost a justification for the band's blinkered view, suggesting that there is real sadness underpinning it. It's still quite upbeat, but in the context of the album, it borders on depressing.

In sum, Music Sounds Better With You is a competently assembled pop record, but its perspective holds the listener at arm's length, preventing full immersion into the record.

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