Guilty About Girls The Very Best of…

With so many '90s reunions either on deck or in full swing, it's great to see artists from that decade forging ahead, creating new material that's neither a rehash of the past, nor an embarrassing bid for modern relevance. Guilty About Girls are the Vancouver, BC duo of Jordy Birch and Mark R. Henning, former members of Canrock legends Pure. Together again after a decade apart, they've ditched the swirling distortion of their former band in favour of '80s-inspired dance music, à la New Order, with Birch's laconic drawl leading the charge. As its title suggests, the focus of The Very Best of… is on pop hooks rather than lyrical themes or groundbreaking sonics. To that end, "Easy Satisfaction" and "Candy Candy" easily live up expectations. Both are instant favourites certain to burrow into your brain. Nothing else matches their sheer pop bliss, but the album rarely sags ― only opener "Runners" is worth skipping (it gets a much better reprise as the album's bookend). Pure were propelled more by their knack for hooks than an adherence to a particular sound, a tradition Birch and Henning continue. The future of the project is unclear ― is this a one-off or the start of something bigger? ― but Guilty About Girls are a welcome return from these oft-ignored stars. (Blacktop)