Music Lovers Cheap Songs Tell the Truth

If one were to judge the Music Lovers’ debut EP based purely on its opening track’s first 20 or so seconds, it’d be easy to write them off as yet another heavily orchestrated lounge-pop group. But right about where you’d expect the fey, whispery vocals to cut in, we’re given the deep, soulful croon of Matthew Edwards (an ex-Scandinavian cruise line entertainer), at once recalling Morrissey, Nick Cave and David Bowie. His vocals, much like his adventurous and folklorish lyrics, add a suave, esoteric appeal to the symphonic backings. Several tracks delve into darker territory, like the bass-heavy arrangement that drives "The Train Home,” but most have a cheerful pop air that belie their gravely serious subject matters. Take "Goodnight Dear Boys, Goodnight,” which covers its ruminations of friendship and death with a surprising Crowded House inspired melody. Music Lovers are like the Frasier of lounge/chamber pop — they take a popular and familiar form, but aim for a nuanced intellectual high ground, clearly embracing the pretence of their approach. It can be a real turn-off at times, just like any artist that takes themselves too seriously, but Music Lovers have a good thing going if they can manage to pull it off as successfully on their upcoming full-length. (Marriage)