Lovelorn pop from Chicago's Navin brothers
If the Pet Shops Boys had spent the last 15 years polishing the melancholy essence of Behaviour to a fine sheen, they might have ended up with a record as elegantly touching as this. The second instalment in the Happyness trilogy, it’s the kind of music iPods would make if they could pleasure themselves: brushed metal, modernist curves, a touch sensitive.
Stephin Merritt is famously interested in avant garde and bubblegum, and nothing in between. The Aluminum Group, with a similar sensibility, have great fun with precisely this ‘in between’: pale ghosts of early-’70s AM radio MOR returning to haunt the laptop. “Love is a switch you turn on and off,” they sing. “When I broke the door in, you called the cops.” But the pursuit of happiness continues, through the rainy days and Mondays, and The Aluminum Group aren’t about to give up the chase. Roll on next year’s concluding set, Little Happyness.