matcd067 / November 2013
- This Is The New Normal
- It's Got To Be Summer
- Famous Blue Anorak
- Don't Hurry Baby
- Dead Poets Make Me Smile
- You Can't Go Back Again
- Have You Seen Faith?
- She Brings The Sunshine
- First Rule Of Book Club
- Your Valentine (Takes Me Back In Time)
- Falling In Love With A Sad Song
- Mr. Dreaming's Bland House
The instantly loveable third album from popular Glasgow band Bubblegum Lemonade, ‘Some Like It Pop’ is perfectly structured to ebb and flow from upbeat to downbeat and from fuzzy to clean across a dozen effervescent pop songs.
The album kicks off with the poignant track ‘This Is The New Normal’ with plenty of jangling guitars on display plus a dose of violin and a nice helping of ba-ba-ba’s.
‘It's Got To Be Summer’ has bits of glockenspiel, chiming guitars, and shimmering harmonies that recall fellow Scottish heroes Teenage Fanclub, while ‘Famous Blue Anorak’ is up-tempo jangly pop reminiscent of The Pooh Sticks and ‘Don't Hurry Baby’ is like a downbeat Mary Chain meets the Walker Brothers with Sandra from Strawberry Whiplash on backing vocals.
‘Dead Poets Make Me Smile’ is an instant classic with guitars that recall The Smiths or The Wedding Present and lyrics about James Dean and Oscar Wilde, among others. It’s a clear single contender and the perfect song to balance the darker shades of the acoustic, reflective ‘You Can't Go Back Again’ that follows.
Side two of the album opens with acclaimed first single ‘Have You Seen Faith?’—a secular hymn to missed opportunities with jangling, strumming riffs, great sixties harmonies, and an especially memorable chorus.
‘She Brings The Sunshine’ is another potential single—an optimistic jangle pop classic with a skipping drum rhythm that should make it a future student disco staple, while ‘First Rule Of Book Club’ begins in the library before layering in 12-string guitars and tambourines that build to a mesmerizing climax.
‘Your Valentine (Takes Me Back In Time)’ is a fuzzy guitar hit influenced by The Buzzcocks and early My Bloody Valentine that features more backing vox by Sandra from Strawberry Whiplash, while ‘Falling In Love With A Sad Song’ is a post modern disco nugget with major seventh guitar chords and knowing lyrics.
The album closes with ‘Mr. Dreaming's Bland House’—a keen observation on urban planning and the first Bubblegum Lemonade song ever to reach the four-minute mark. It begins like a late period song by The Jam before visiting The Stone Roses on its way to a psychedelic wigout and perfect ending to the album.
Showcasing the latest from a never-ending pipeline of Bubblegum Lemonade hits, ‘Some Like It Pop’ is an accomplished, melodic gem and another modern classic for Matinée.
Some records come into your life without fanfare or expectations; they exist simply as a statement by an artist. Whether or not the band, Bubblegum Lemonade in this case, has received acclaim or accolades isn’t important, but what matters is the strength of said statement. In the case of Some Like It Pop, I don’t care what anyone has to say, this album is brilliant from start to finish. “This is the New Normal” winds its way carefully into the opening moments, with a bit of strings and a tinkering bit of bells. Before you know it, you’re swept away in this gorgeous sensation of warm pop. The melody stands out instantly, but the mood of the song is greatly affecting; Laz adds a nice “ba ba ba baaa” to the mix to really emphasize a musician at the top of his game. And hits just keep coming. ”It’s Got to Be Summer” again opens with a bit of playful tinkering, but at the 18th second of the track, you won’t find a musical sensation more compelling. What’s striking to me about Some Like It Pop is the attention to detail at every turn. Where the group went for straight indiepop on their last outing, this one is filled with touches and brushstrokes of genius songwriting that ultimately reward the listener, like when this tune trails off in its closing moments. And things don’t always go as one would expect from Bubblegum Lemonade. On “Don’t Hurry Baby,” there’s a lush arrangement, leaving you with this dreamy balladry that will leave a lasting impression. There’s even a chugging guitar riff beneath the mix that adds a bit of rock n’ roll propulsion to the affair. And it moves into the album’s standout, “Dead Poets Make Me Smile.” The title of the song alone wins, but dammit if the song doesn’t win on every single level, rolling along with the backbeat of the drums and the jangling guitar. Other songs like “First Rule of Book Club” have this wry sense of humor, but they also seem to be timeless pieces of music; it’s not draped in nostalgia or boasting some new direction, it’s simply perfect. The closing statement from Some Like It Pop, “Mr Dreaming’s Bland House,” is the album’s longest tune, and also a final statement that serves as the perfect summation for the record. Melodies swirl throughout. Drums are spot on with their emphatic punch, though never over-intrusive. And the vocals have this perfect wash of fuzzy coating, including a nice dose of backing vocals. It all fits together so well, that you almost immediately start the record over. It’s understated in the perfect way, making the entirety so much more endearing. You’re not going to find a better pop album out there; they just don’t exist, so follow my lead to the blissful land left to us all by Bubblegum Lemonade. --Austin Town Hall
Across the seas, Glasgow's Bubblegum Lemonade slay too, but in a somewhat more measured way. With fearful symmetry, they too dare frame a third album: once again, 'difficult' be blowed, for "Some Like It Pop" perfectly captures how the Lemonade have skipped from one new plateau to another to become one of the most assured bands of their oeuvre. The record comes on the heels of the sun-dappled dazzle of instantly heartening single "Have You Seen Faith?" and at times "S.L.I.P." could be the brothers Reid fronting the Razorcuts, such is the dedication to capturing a prized indie-pop sound, a journey which throws up constant and knowing nods to Creation Records, to Creation's roots in 60s' mod and psychedelia and, when the fuzz kicks in, to the pure pop cravings of the bands that graced Bristol's splendid Subway Organization for a few halcyon years. Were we to be actively threatened with a spell in a Siberian gulag for failure to pick our favourites, then as well as the gorgeous preceding 45 we would nominate "Famous Blue Anorak", "Dead Poets Make Me Smile" and "Your Valentine (Takes Me Back In Time)": but in truth, there's nothing here that doesn't glow with the warmth of at least a thousand bonfires. --In Love With These Times, In Spite Of These Times
Well, it certainly is true that some like it pop. And I maintain that those who like it pop will most certainly like Some Like It Pop, the third LP from Glasgow's Bubblegum Lemonade. The band is the project of Glasgow's Lawrence "Laz" McCluskey. And while it is guitar pop, and those guitars most definitely jangle, it cannot be categorized merely as jangle pop. Laz's palette is broader than ever and the set mixes downbeat songs with the upbeat, fuzzy distorted The Jesus and Mary Chain blasts with the chiming bubblegum, Teenage Fanclub power pop with Lucksmiths' melancholy, and the idiosyncratic pop of Belle and Sebastian with the soaring anthems of Phil Spector. I was an early adopter of Bubblegum Lemonade, picking up the Ten Years Younger EP in 2008. I've always found Laz's music captivating, but I'm particularly impressed at his growth as a songwriter over the ensuing five years. And I can confidently write that if you are only going to own one Bubblegum Lemonade record to date, this is it. You can enjoy a four-track sampler of the album below. It begins with the uptempo rhythms of "Dead Poets Make Me Smile". Its sunny melody and literate lyrics will brighten your day. The proceedings take a darker cast with "You Can't Go Back Again", which reminds me of the moody folk rock of The Grass Roots (that's a '6os reference, for you youngsters). The next track is, for me, one of the album highlights. "Have You Seen Faith", previously released as a single, has the melody, guitar hooks, and performances that make for a perfect three minute pop song. At the end of Laz's career, he will have written many fine songs, but this one will be in the top group. The sampler closes with "She Brings The Sunshine", another pop nugget with echos of The Monkeys and the best of C86. Matinée Recordings thinks it could be a single, and I'll endorse the notion. And those tracks are only one-third of the album. There is more '60s flavored guitar pop such as "It's Got to be Summer", '90s power pop like "Famous Blue Anorak" (nice bongos, too), and gentle downtempo in the form of "Don't Hurry Baby". This is one of those albums that won't sit on your shelf. You'll want it on your portable devices, you'll want it in your car, you'll want it on regular rotation at home. Go ahead, wear it out. That's what it is for. --When You Motor Away
Lawrence McCluskey loves jangle pop, which is no news to anyone who has heard his work with his project Bubblegum Lemonade (which most of the time is just McCluskey and his home recording setup). But the third Bubblegum Lemonade album, Some Like It Pop, suggests that jangle pop likes McCluskey more and more with each passing year. Stylistically, Some Like It Pop isn't terribly different than BL's previous work, which is to say it follows the path of left-of-center pop music from the Byrds through the C-86 era to Teenage Fanclub and Primal Scream, but McCluskey's myriad obsessions seem better unified into a warm and melodic style of their own in this third go-round. The tunes move more gracefully on Some Like It Pop, and the overall tone is more playful and a bit less self-conscious than it was on BL's debut. McCluskey is still the principal creative voice on this set, but he does bring in a few friends to add vocal and instrumental flourishes, and the result is an album that sounds and feels more organic and comfortable than what one might expect from Bubblegum Lemonade, even on the tracks that only feature McCluskey. And while Some Like It Pop is a considerable distance from wacky, there's more easygoing humor to be found on this album, as indicated in song titles like "Famous Blue Anorak," "Dead Poets Make Me Smile," and "Mr. Dreaming's Bland House." In some respects, Bubblegum Lemonade still sounds as much like a fan's project as a "real" band, but McCluskey has at least made an album that suggests he's a promising semipro rather than a hobbyist, and Some Like It Pop is his best and most engaging music to date. --All Music Guide
Releasing an album that's short on surprises isn't often seen as a bonus, more a lack imagination or ideas, or worse still, a retread of what the band in question has done before. This third full-length from Lawrence McClusky's Bubblegum Lemonade project doesn't offer much that you won't have heard from previous records, including those by his other band, Strawberry Whiplash. In this instance, this familiarity is a blessing, not a curse, as the prolific songwriter never fails to write strong tracks and, as the title suggests, pop melodies are not in short supply; obviously a crucial factor when making music that fits the indiepop bracket. Given the fact that 'Some Like It Pop' was released just a fortnight after Lou Reed's passing, the Velvet Underground-inspired artwork probably wasn't planned as a tribute to a lost legend, it was planned as a nod to a living great and a influence, and has now become more poignant than intended. Musically, you could take the twinkling opening of first track 'This Is The New Normal' and find a direct lineage back to songs like 'Sunday Morning', but the jangling guitars follow a different path, proving that the usual reference points of The Byrds, Big Star, Flying Nun Records and C86 are as important as the Velvets. Plus there's something distinctly Scottish feeling about adding violin to guitar tunes of this nature, thanks in part to Belle & Sebastian. While we're on the subject of common references, the lovely 'It's Got To be Summer' has a Jesus & Mary Chain feel, minus the feedback overload. All of the above could indicate that this is just another decent indiepop album, and in a way that's true, yet the calibre of songs is what will make you keep returning for repeat helpings, and the lack of filler is also a crucial factor. This is a solid collection, with the only real criticism being that some of the melodies are close to other McClusky compositions, but on the flip side, it shows that there is a definite individuality here, and being able to blindly recognise a band fairly quickly in a scene as crowded as the indiepop world can only be a good thing. It's difficult not to fall back on chalices such as "honeyed" when describing just how pretty a song like 'Don't Hurry Baby' is, but from the backing vocals to the layers of guitar to (that word again) the melody, that's exactly what this is. The title could be a reference to the similarly perfect pop of The Beach Boys' 'Don't Worry Baby'; they're another influence it's difficult to avoid. 'Dead Poets Make Me Smile' is pure '80s guitar-pop that would probably be considered a classic had it been released in that decade. It's not all sunshine and flowers though; 'First Rule Of Book Club' has a more pensive vibe and 'You Can't Go Back Again' talks about the destruction of someone's past that has "turned to dust", however this is quickly followed by the splendid, dreamy single 'Have You Seen Faith?' which again sparkles like a glitter ball in the bright daylight. Another particularly bright spot is 'Your Valentine (Takes me Back In Time)' which has an extra buzz about it and is perfect single material, oh, and you don't go calling a song 'She Brings The Sunshine' if it's to be downbeat and sorrowful. 'Some Like It Pop' won't change the world, but it will make it seem like a better place for forty minutes or so. --Sounds XP
In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers. But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music. This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special. Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started. --Austin Town Hall (Best of 2013 - #2)
Bubblegum Lemonade is part of the title of an album by the late Cass Elliot, (aka Mama Cass); it is also the name of a solo project from Glasgow musician Lawrence “Laz” McCluskey, whose music is greatly influenced by earlier styles of psychedelic pop. His new album is called Some Like it Pop. The lead song “This is the New Normal” was included in our December 16th Playlist Update, and it’s a charming piece of 60′s inspired pop. You can tell Laz has a real fondness for this classic sound. His music would fit right in with the Flower Children of San Francisco as well as the Paisley Underground movement of Los Angeles in the 80s. “This is the New Normal” would probably be regarded as a classic if it had been a part of either of those movements. It’s such a fresh take on the sound, especially with the addition of the fiddle which gives it that distinctive Scottish touch. There’s a reverence to those original styles, though, that makes it already feel like a classic today. There is so much to love about this new album. This is timeless pop; sophisticated and melodic, with layered and lush arrangements. It’s hard to imagine that this is created by one person. Listening to it will transport you from the Velvet Underground to Belle & Sebastian with stops at The Beach Boys, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smiths, and many others along the way. --Gimmie Indie
Today’s song of the day, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “This Is The New Normal” by Bubblegum Lemonade from the 2013 album Some Like It Pop on Matinée Recordings. Three years ago, as a launch tool for his indie-pop stylings, Lawrence “Laz” McCluskey created the one-man outfit Bubblegum Lemonade. His appreciation for classic music is refreshing, after all, he named the band after Mama Cass’ 1969 solo album, Bubblegum, Lemonade, and Something for Mama. He’s not only a solo act -- around the same time, the Scottish artist joined his friend Sandra under the name Strawberry Whiplash. However, earlier this year it was all about McCluskey’s third Bubblegum Lemonade album. Some Like It Pop was added to the long list of Scotland’s album of the year nominees, which is one of the highest music accolades in his home country. “This Is The New Normal” definitely doesn’t start out as your typical pop number. For example, a fiddle isn’t usually in your average pop musicians instrumental repertoire. It’s hard to fathom that one man is responsible for such a lush, layered, and sophisticated sound. --KEXP Song of the Day
'Some Like It Pop' is the third album by the Glasgow-based indie pop band Bubblegum Lemonade, which is fronted by Laz McCluskey. It consists of songs that he has written over the last two years. The front cover of 'Some Like It Pop' is a spoof sleeve of the Velvet Underground's debut album, this time using a plastic damaged lemonade bottle rather than a banana. Get it? It features twelve numbers of mostly Rickenbacker-infused tales of love and shyness, and hints at My Bloody Valentine, the Stone Roses, the Buzzcocks, and also a calmer Wedding Present. All are textured with that familiar jingle jangle we have come to expect from the band. None of the twelve nuggets that make up this album last more than three minutes, except for the last song 'Mr. Dreaming's Bland House' which hits the four minute mark. This is a lovely album. You could do a lot worse than put this in someone's Christmas stocking. --Pennyblack Magazine
With Glasgow’s indie-pop kingpins Belle & Sebastian still a long way from following-up 2010’s Write About Love, there’s a gap in the market for a record that fuses the baroque-pop of love with the jangly guitars of The Byrds. Seizing the moment, Some Like It Pop could easily pass for B&S at their scratchy sixties-influenced best but is actually the work of Glaswegian postman and 12-string guitar enthusiast Lawrence McCluskey. After his excellent ‘Have You Seen Faith?’ single, it’s almost a shame that McCluskey didn’t find a place for a track as sweet and effortless as ‘Cool Guitar Girl’, especially given that the twelve tracks on show here have a slight tendency to blur into one another, but there are still plenty of sugary sweet treats in store. For such a sunny record it seems an odd decision to release Some Like It Pop in the dead of winter. ‘Mr Dreaming’s Bland House’ clips along like The Stone Roses on a country jog while ‘It’s Got to be Summer’s chiming guitar figure brings to mind The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’. Of course, in another guise McCluskey makes Jesus and Mary Chain inspired noise-pop so it’s no surprise that he’s as adept at synthesizing the sounds of early eighties as he is the late sixties. From its witty Scottish subversion of Andy Warhol’s iconic artwork for The Velvet Underground and Nico onwards it might just be a quirky triumph.
Bubblegum Lemonade is a 60′s influenced indie pop band based in Glasgow, Scotland.
This is their third album release and the albums name is “Some Like It Pop”. Although Scottish you wouldn’t know unless told, I don’t find that the vocals have a Scottish accent to them. The album is mellow and reminiscent of earlier eras of music. The guitar style and sound brings through the influences. The vocals are softly sang and the drum beats are not too overpowering of the vocals, also some added backing vocals in there which top it off nicely and make the harmonies tight. I noticed the band’s name must come from the title of the Mama Cass album, which is quite fitting as their music takes you back to that time of music. The music is easy to listen to and the album flows from song to song nicely. To create a sound from the past is probably harder than it appears but Bubblegum Lemonade manage it perfectly. If I didn’t know I would think they were a band from the 60′s. Described as “The Velvets meet The Monkees in a massive tunnel”.Not sure why it’s a massive tunnel but there we go. The track ’She Brings The Sunshine’ is one of the more upbeat songs with its jangle pop and the drum beat is slightly faster in this than some of the other tracks.The guitar riffs added into the chorus add something to the song, a little catchy melody and the do do do do, makes you want to sing along. The closing song for the album ‘Mr. Dreaming’s Bland House’ ends on a good note—I particular like the ending drums and electronic sound being produced. Now a lot of the album seems quite low tempo, but it allows you to sit back and take in the music, even though it may not be an album to dance to, I found it quite enjoyable even though not my normality of musical choice I would easily play this on a summer’s eve in the garden. The music has a warmth depth to it and a summer feeling. If you like music from the 60′s and that more distinctive retro sound then I recommend you take a listen to the music and see if it takes your memory back in time. Having only been born in the late 80′s I missed this era but even not knowing what it would have sounded like back then I think these guys have done a good job at pulling it off with these 60′s influenced melodies. --Backseat Mafia
Tercer álbum de esta one-man band, el proyecto personal del escocés Lawrence McCluskey, un apasionado del pop con un gusto exquisito y una extraordinaria sensibilidad para facturar estribillos redondos y melodías estremecedoras, que suenan como los mejores grupos de pop de todas las épocas: TEENAGE FANCLUB, THE SMITHS, THE BEACH BOYS, THE STONE ROSES, THE WEDDING PRESENT,… con un sonido algo menos fuzzy que en sus anteriores trabajos; pop en estado puro de muchos kilates con armonías celestiales, guitarras resplandecientes y preciosos arreglos de violín, glockenspiel, panderetas, etc. En “Don’t hurry baby” y “Your Valentine (takes me back in time)” colabora a los coros Sandra, de STRAWBERRY WHIPLASH. Un disco maravilloso que no baja el listón de los anteriores, lleno de inspiración y talento. --El Planeta Amarillo
Se la vostra giornata ha già assunto toni deliziosi con questo disco, sappiate che non è ancora il momento di dire stop alle dolcezze melodiche. La doppietta vincente è infatti completa con il nuovo album della formazione di Glasgow dei Bubblegum Lemonade, "Some Like It Pop". Giusto per far capire, stiamo comunque parlando di due assoluti "campioni" per l'etichetta e quindi è giusto aspettarsi livelli compositivi decisamente alti. Cosa che puntualmente accade anche in questo caso. Ci portano a scuola di guitar-pop i Bubblegum, con lezioni adorabili di jangly solare, ritornelli a presa rapida, cori che scaldano il cuore e armonie che si vorrebbe non finissero mai. Certo, tutto classico e magari privo di sorprese, a partire dai sorrisi ammiccanti di She Brings The Sunshine, passando per la dolcezza di It's Got To Be Summer e l'andamento alla Mary Chain elettro/acustici di Don't Hurry Baby. Eppure è il ruolo di tutti i professori quello di dire e ridire magari una lezione per tantissime volte, ma sta alla loro bravura e capacità quello di renderle ogni volta accattivanti e aggiungere qualche particolare per renderle ancora "nuove" e non semplici letture da un noioso libro di testo preconfezionato. Ecco perchè i Bubblegum alla fine ci piacciono e ci convincono anche questa volta! Ancora una volta la Matinée colpisce in pieno il bersaglio. --Troublezine
Praticamente ogni uscita dello scanzonato Lawrence ‘Laz’ McCluskey riesce a strappare un sorriso prima ancora di inserire il cd nel lettore. Basta uno sguardo alla copertina, leggere il titolo dell’album o scorrere quelli dei brani per essere subito messi di buon umore dalla naturale capacità di non prendersi sul serio del quarantenne chitarrista e cantautore scozzese, alla guida delle due band “sorelle” Strawberry Whiplash e Bubblegum Lemonade, che quale principale elemento distintivo hanno l’elemento vocale. In Bubblegum Lemonade è lui stesso a cantare con timbro morbido e perenne spirito post-adolescenziale melodie sostenute da un impianto chitarristico ora vivace ora intriso di lieve nostalgia. Anche il titolo del terzo album della band, “Some Like It Pop”, suona così al tempo stesso come una dichiarazione d’intenti e una ricognizione descrittiva del suo contenuto, mentre del tutto superflua appare la ricerca degli ironici riferimenti della copertina. Alla medesima sottile ironia appare improntato l’intero lavoro, costituito da una carrellata di dodici tracce che vedono Laz e soci accentuare i caratteri più lievi e malinconici della sua scrittura pop, alimentati da un certo depotenziamento dello scatenato impatto elettrico che innervava con maggior decisione i precedenti “Doubleplusgood” e “Sophomore Release”. Certo, anche qui non mancano popsong fluide e contagiose come ad esempio “Your Valentine (Takes Me Back In Time)” e “Dead Poets Make Me Smile”, deliziosi esempi di guitar-pop dalle reminiscenze eighties, mentre lo stesso singolo “Have You Seen Faith?” e l’iniziale “This Is The New Normal” mettono da subito in chiaro il processo di affinamento al quale sono state sottoposte le canzoni di Laz, adesso contornate da più frequenti languori jangly e persino da qualche arrangiamento di violini, in una miscela dal piacevole sapore Teenage Fanclub. Non per questo il tono dell’album si fa compunto né tanto meno levigato, anzi è ancora l’ironia e un gusto per giochi di parole e vaghi nonsense a caratterizzare la smithsiana “Dead Poets Make Me Smile”, mentre tutto uno spiccato candore sentimentale riaffiora nella scorrevolezza agrodolce di “Have You Seen Faith?” e “Don’t Hurry Baby”, fino a trovare perfetta sintesi in “Falling In Love With A Sad Song”, piccolo manifesto di un’essenza pop della quale McCluskey incarna il perfetto archetipo. Perché per fortuna, come ci sono ancora incalliti estimatori di un pop orgogliosamente “di retroguardia”, ci sono anche artisti come lui, capaci di dispensare dolce cibo per le loro orecchie ed anime, all’insegna del perfetto motto “Some Like It Pop”. --Music Won't Save You