Saturday Looks Good to Me, ‘One Kiss Ends It All’ – Album Review
Saturday Looks Good to Me’s forte used to be upbeat ditties that belied their often heartrending lyrics. While the contrast usually worked in their favor, their latest effort, ‘One Kiss Ends It All,’ finds the band focusing on the latter half of that equation, with music and melodies to match.
Dipping their toes into lo-fi waters, the Michigan rockers open the album with the underwater vocals of ‘One Kiss,’ a bit of an homage to early shoegazer forefathers. But it’s the jauntier ‘Break In’ that contains the album’s eponymous “one kiss ends it all” lyric, helping to run a single thread throughout the record. ‘Are You Kissing Anyone’ continues the album’s theme, bringing the gaiety down a notch with Magnetic Fields-style instrumentation and vocals that border on woeful.
To the band’s credit, the genre-hopping works, and rather than coming across as erratic, the stylistic shifts fit the ups and downs that characterize the album. Throughout, the band seems intent on covering ts musical bases, switching seamlessly from uncharacteristically lo-fi fare to the jangly pop for which they’re generally known (see: ‘Invisible Friend,’ a standout track) to anything else that might fall under the umbrella of pop.
‘New City’ shines as an example of what Saturday Looks Good to Me does best: marry buoyant music to wistful lyrics. The line “When it’s falling apart / it’s time to build a new city” exemplifies the kind of guarded optimism the group excels at conveying. ‘Sunglasses’ also hints at the sadness that permeates album, and “I feel like I can’t be wrong / in bed with my sunglasses on” feels like it could be a nod to depression (or a nasty hangover). And lyrics like “Nobody actually wants to me happy / they just want to be heard” allude to emotions below the surface.
The record’s ebb and flow might also be reflective of the ever-changing nature of the band. After a tour in 2008, Saturday Looks Good to Me went on hiatus and didn’t reemerge until 2012 (with new vocalist Carol Gray). Considering the band has only been together in its current incarnation for a relatively short time (songwriter Fred Thomas has been the band’s svengali since its beginnings), they may just be starting to regain their footing.
But whether they’re exploring emotional peaks or valleys, one thing’s for certain: It’s good to have Saturday Looks Good to Me back in the game.