Blue Skies for Black Hearts “Serenades and Hand Grenades”

This album makes me giddy, what with its overflowing powerpop Moog, guitars and occasional falsettos. Portland’s Blue Skies for Black Hearts sound exactly as you’d expect them to. Backing harmonies from this four-piece of dudes are like a Snickers bar at 3 p.m.
“Siouxsie Please Come Home” gets the album off to a great start with a musical style that reminds me of The Mamas and the Papas. “Ambition” has saxamophone, and it definitely fills in the cracks to make the song a whole unit. The lyrics seem to be mixed a wee bit lower on this one, but I always have trouble with lyrics, so it could just be that.
“Jenny & Steve” is horny and tells a good story. I want to hear this band cover the theme song to “Are You Being Served?” Not only does it have trumpet but it has tuba too, which my dad would appreciate. A key point here is that the brass complements the song. Sometimes when an act throws an unconventional instrument into the mix, it’s for novelty purposes and it destroys the integrity of the track. Not here.
“I Still Wish That You Were Around” reminds me of the Posies. The mid-’90s feel is unmistakable. The song’s construction is a bit simpler than the other tracks are, but this stripped-down atmosphere really works here. It’s something I would have listened to while on the bus to Arby’s for my closing shift.

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