Seldom Romance

Now that Seattle has become just another Northwestern city, the stigma attached to hailing from there because of the inevitable preconceived ideas that were always associated with Seattle has dissipated. So if Seldom want to sound more like Joe Jackson than anyone else you'd expect, that's just fine, and much less predictable. Romance, the band's first album, is a record that demonstrates their love of pop music. Singer and songwriter Yuuki Matthew's vocal delivery falls midway between Ben Folds and the nasally guy from They Might Be Giants, although much of the Ben Folds comparison might come from their reliance on piano and keyboards on many of the songs. Yet that sells Seldom short, because their own particular brand of low-key pop music is memorable enough to dispel those similarities. Plus, there is uniqueness to Matthews' voice, especially with his unusual phrasing, as he tries to fit more words in a line than advisable, or rhyme words at any cost. But it's kind of endearing in its own way. Romance is the perfect example of how pop music doesn't have to be all about simple melodies and bland lyrics, and there's a sophistication and complexity that makes this an enjoyable listen for the pop-starved masses. (Casa)