Identical twins Christoph and Anton Hochheim must have spent a lot of time in their youth studying up on indie pop of all stripes, but especially the sounds of the mid-'80s U.
Throw in some smooth '70s soft pop sounds, a little bit of synth pop, and the occasional modern touch and that's what their band Ablebody sounds like. Their 2016 record Adult Contemporaries is a treat for lovers of indie pop, filled with sneakily sharp hooks, a wide array of really nice guitar tones, and vocals that can only be described as swooning. The first half of the record treads a similar path to two of the bands the brothers spent time playing with in the past, the Depreciation Guild and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Big-sounding songs with chiming layers of guitars, sprightly tempos, and icy synths, each one sounding like it could have been in rotation on a radio show in 1986, wedged between the Chameleons and the Church. After an energetic cover of the Servants' classic C-86 tune "The Sun a Small Star," the album swerves in a quieter, more sophisticated direction as the lads do some serious channeling of Prefab Sprout (with a side of Aztec Camera) the rest of the way. From the gauzy synth pads and fake horns to the tricky chord changes and lush melodies, the brothers (and producer Kenny Gilmore) do a fantastic job of re-creating a very specific sound. Paddy McAloon would either be very proud to have inspired such a loving tribute or he'd be mad that he didn't write this excellent batch of songs himself. The same goes for Roddy Frame. Either way it's hard to deny the sleek beauty of songs like "One Dime a Day" or "Say What You Will," which features some classy bass popping. The two halves of the album fit together like flipsides of a coin that was buried and forgotten for 30 years, then discovered and shined up to look like new. In that regard, Adult Contemporaries won't win many points for originality, but the way they borrow from the past is truly lovely, and by the time the verdant chords of the final song fade away in a cloud of slowly dissipating nostalgia, it doesn't matter that the brothers might be sticky-fingered thieves. They steal with style and class, which in this case is just as good as originality, maybe even better.
|Backseat Heart / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||4:57|
|After Hours / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||4:20|
|Gaucho / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||4:25|
|Powder Blue / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||3:49|
|The Sun, A Small Star / The Servants||Ablebody||2:52|
|Heart Keep / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||2:59|
|Marianne / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||4:14|
|One Dime a Day / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||3:08|
|Say What You Will / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||4:20|
|Send Me a Letter / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||4:14|
|Wayside Glow / Anton Hochheim / Christoph Hochheim||Ablebody||2:48|