[sic] Magazine

Should – The Great Pretend

Baltimore act Should always get tagged with the dream pop label. Hey I love dream pop, don’t get me wrong, but I think pigeonholing does Should a disservice. There’s depth here, real songwriting beneath the pedals and effects. To my mind Should are like a Creation band circa 1987, a time when Sixties infused C86 was about to give way to shoegaze. Should straddle both styles and more. Witness opening track ‘Don’t Send Me Your Regrets ‘ which is almost Krautrock in its driving, resolute chord. Why then does it make me think of Go Betweens? The vocals are probably a big reason. Marc Ostermeier sounds optimised when double tracked (either with himself or with co-singer, Tanya Maus)

I love this record. I love it for its honesty and I love it for its dishonesty. Its truth is in the unabashed pop tunes – fresh, breezy stuff throughout. You cannot help smiling. The Great Pretend‘s deceits are really in the way it plays with your mind. Expectation Vs Payoff is explored in the outstanding ‘Loveless Devotion’ but is also a constant theme for the listener. Clever track juxtapositioning keeps us guessing. There’s a song called ‘Lonely Place’ but it’s nothing like Joy Division/New Order. The following track ‘Amends’ could be an outtake from Movement.

Was it Wire’s Colin Newman who said that the most subversive weapon in a musician’s arsenal is the perfect pop song? There’s plenty here. Galaxie 500, Lightening Seeds, Sarah Records, they’re all solid reference points. ‘Mistakes are Mine’ ends how the Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ begins. And Should….begin to seriously impress. Mad waltz, ‘Don’t Get To Know Me’ ends the album. There’s a hint of Spiritualised Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, as it closes out. I await that NASA beep. It never comes, of course; It’s all a great pretend.

Should…do very well.

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