The Upshot: A tuneful three-guitar racket from the Twin Cities capturing the moody fluctuations and inherent contradictions of power pop very well.
BY JENNIFER KELLY
Real Numbers, out of Minneapolis, make a tuneful three-guitar racket that punches up wistful indie pop romanticism with post-punk friction. Wordless Wonder, their first full length, is said to be less abrasive than the band’s earlier singles, but it’s got a fair amount of spine behind its puppy-ish scramble. The sun is shining through the rain all through these ten songs, not just the aptly named “This Happy Sadness” which effervescently closes the album. The balance of downcast introspection and giddiness will remind you 1980s post-punk bands like the Pastels and Television Personalities.
“Frank Infatuation” is the keeper here, with sharp-turning guitar lines and bouncing staccato bass. It moves fast and promises much. An anticipatory excitement is only slightly undercut by swooning melancholy. The lyrics, too, remark on children losing their innocence, hedonism that goes on without us and, of course, the title’s possibly unrequited “Frank Infatuation,” but any sadness melts away in exhilarant shouts of “doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo.”
Boisterous “Just So Far Away” is, perhaps, the album’s punk-est interval. With Its bounding, rampaging one-two beat. “New Boy” is likewise a rocker, starting in a rumbling bass solo that puts me in mind of the Soft Pack. “Public Domain” rings out the power chords like late 1960s Who, strident and psychedelic at once. But more often, melodies drift languidly, almost lyrically, over a dense jangle and tumult. Yearning, frustration, joy and abandon all take their turns in these brief, ever-shifting songs, just the way they do when you’re young and in and out of love. Wordless Wonder captures the moody fluctuations and inherent contradictions of power pop very well.
DOWNLOAD: “Frank Infatuation” “This Happy Sadness” “Public Domain”