The Awkward Stage Heaven is for Easy Girls

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. For the Awkward Stage’s main songwriter, Shane Nelken, he’s puttered around the Vancouver scene quite admirably, as seen by the contributions of erstwhile band-mate Kurt Dahle of the New Pornographers. Though one would think this would be bouncy pop and power chords, Nelken is much too subtle for that (not withstanding the hilarious cover art). These compositions could probably be described as a gentle pop that borrows a lot from the British camp of earnest, catchy melodies. Indeed, Heaven is for Easy Girls ranges from Snow Patrol pining ("I Love You, Hipster Darling”) to Beatles-pep ("We’re Going for a Ride”), and it all gels wonderfully. Hell, there’s even an honest-to-god radio hit with the confidently punchy "So Stupid, So Smart” that will have you looking awkward as you spitefully sing out the chorus on that early morning commute. The cover may document a doomed romance, but Heaven is the opposite as Nelken easily woos the ears with his endlessly fulfilling collection of delicate ditties. Consider me flustered. (Mint)