Mention the phrases 'beachy guitars' or 'lo-fi electropop' to anybody who's been paying attention to indie buzz bands over the past few years and you're likely to be met with a degree of skepticism. But the pop tunes on this debut album album from Dana Buoy, a.k.a. Akron/Family percussionist Dana Janssen, manage to use a lot of these recently overused sounds in refreshing ways, and the result is a summery album that manages to be fun and easy without being dull or forgettable.

An enormous part of Summer Bodies' appeal is Dana's incredibly catchy hooks, yes. The front-end of the album is especially packed with instantly likable, immediate songs like 'Call To Be' and 'So Lucky' that lodge themselves into the listeners brain so effectively that they'll remain there for hours after even a single cursory listen. But what really makes a lot of these songs a bit more special is their presentation. Probably the most obvious example of Dana's ability to combine pop songcraft with engaging song structure is opener 'Anatomy of Now,' which undergoes a beautiful metamorphosis from an a cappella vocal melody into a beat-driven guitar pop tune without ever even introducing a chorus until the song's epic outro. It's not that there's anything wrong with simple verse-chorus-verse song structure - Dana unsurprisingly uses it quite a bit - but the fact that he eschews it in favor of something slightly different every now and then gives this album a hint of unpredictability that effectively keeps things fresh. It also doesn't hurt that Dana has a really likable, expressive voice that feels totally at home in these songs. At times he reminds of a more pop-focused Avey Tare, earthy vocals naturally twisting in and out of melodic turns like its their job.

On 'Come My Side,' Dana again betrays his love of building songs up from the ground, starting with a quaint, sentimental ballad section before blowing up into an enormous, choral synthpop anthem. The song also features a killer utilization of Celine Dion's most powerful secret weapon, the end-of-song key change, which is kind of amazing. On the other hand, 'Come My Side' contains a whopping dose of just about every quality in this album that might lose people. It can feel a bit over-the-top and cheesy with its stadium pop dynamic and synth-soaked orchestration, as can other points on the album to a lesser extent, but that can actually be a huge plus if you're willing to buy into it. The other iffy thing about this track, and some other tracks on the album, are the lyrics, which get a bit too mushy and start to verge on cringe-worthy: 'move me, make me turn into smile' alone contains enough sugar to give someone health complications.

And that's sorta the main thing that holds Summer Bodies back. Like anything really sugary, it can be really fantastic in small doses, but it's a bit much for a full meal. Though 43 minutes isn't an outrageous length for a pop album, the style does begin to wear over the course of the album, and so the latter part of the album seems to drag a little despite also featuring some good songs. Dana almost avoids this by changing things up a bit near the end with 'Futures Part,' a guitar-riff driven track that slowly reveals itself as one of the album's highlights with repeat listens, but the fact remains that it'd have been a bit of a stronger album with a song or two shaved off.

Still, Summer Bodies is a really solid debut that's easily worth checking out for any fans of the countless summery and/or psychedelic buzz bands that have cropped up in the past 3 years. Dana Buoy doesn't so much fit in with these bands as he does provide a nice alternative to them, providing a take on homemade pop that feels a touch more personal and idiosyncratic and is all the better for it. Minor qualms aside, there's no reasons that the best of these songs shouldn't be summer jams.