Jason Bajada Up Go the Arms

For an indie record, Up Go the Arms sounds remarkably "un-indie.” It is not a grainy, lo-fi recording; instead it favours a clean, polished mix. There’s not a trace of post-punk angst to be found and it is largely devoid of experimentation. Instead, Jason Bajada has crafted an album of supremely accessible silken pop buoyed by addictive four-chord choruses. Indeed, Up Go the Arms seems to be born of the same philosophy that has spawned much of Detroit pop hero Brendan Benson’s breezy work. While Bajada may be more adept at concealing his Beatles fixation than Benson is, he is almost more unapologetic in his blatant pop-o-holism. To wit, "The Disease of Being Sad” lays it on thick, with synthesisers trampolining on a melody straight out of a Sesame Street house party before plunging into a rousing heart-on-sleeve chorus where Bajada sings about needing "the right kind of love.” It’s cheap, it’s predictable, but nevertheless, it will plough into many an ill-prepared listener, stubbornly burrow its way into their heads, and force them to concede defeat to what is: ultimately, a sumptuous cups’n’cakes sing-along. Lyrically the album is unremarkable, and a couple of slower numbers — particularly the aimless title track — gum up the works considerably. Yet whether it’s through a dark bossa nova slander ("Unvisited Stars”) or mellifluous twang pop ("Good to be Good”), Bajada manages to tap into the uncomplicated, carefree spirit of your first pop love — the very one that you have worked so hard to distance yourself from. (Independent)