Band Name: The iOs
Album Name: In Sunday Songs
Best Element: Spans the entire pop spectrum
Label Name: Kanine Records
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I love Third Eye Blind. Their 90’s power pop was a template that should have been copied and ripped off by many a band – but not many tried it. I suppose that true talent cancels out effective ripoffs. But my love of Third Eye Blind was rekindled when I heard the iO’s In Sunday Songs. The iOs sound like a band that would have shared the stage with 3EB, and that excites me.
Yes, the iOs play exuberant, jubilant, excited, all-out power-pop. It’s got quirky synths, huge guitars, girl/guy vocals, and enough charm to make an emo kid break out in a smile. The Rhodes-led girl-sung “Who’s the Blonde?” is one of the best 2-minute slices of pop joy I’ve heard in a long time, complete with ooo’s, lyrics like “I’m a lion!”, and rumbling drums that make everything sound epic. “Resident Alien” is deceptive – it seems mindless from the title and the lyrics, but it’s extremely well-crafted and mercilessly hooky.
But right when I was beginning to get accustomed to the adrenalized cheeriness of the iOs, “Rockets” starts off slow, effortless, and fluid – a comforting break from the peppy up-and-at-‘em of their previous offerings. The song builds into an epic, as would be expected from a great pop band, but it’s definitely a stylistic shift.
And after that stylistic shift, the iO’s spend the second half of their album exploring the more morose side of pop. This side is no less orchestrated or catchy, but it is less cheery. In fact, it’s a tough call on which side of the album I like more – the bright party music or the mellowed-out pop. The fact that an underwater, ethereal track such as “Deeper Sleep” can coexist peacefully with the manic “Neveright” is just tribute to how successful the iOs have been at their quest to create meaningful pop – they’ve mined the highest highs and low lows to create a thoroughly impressive album. From the blasting forth “Come True” to the solemn closer “Still Finding Out,” there’s been a lot of ground covered in under 40 minutes.
It takes brains to write music that you can listen to without thinking. This may not seem like a very complicated album or a very heavy-hitting genre to be in, but the iO’s have taken pop and excelled at it. This album is fantastic, and definitely one of the surprises of the year.