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Mary Onettes, Portico (Labrador Records)




Mary Onettes, Portico (Labrador Records)
Cd Reviews 3-20-14

03/20/14
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 Hit the Waves, this Swedish dream-pop band’s last album, will probably be remembered as its best. It was a departure from 2009’s Islands in singer Philip Ekström’s mastering of the Cure vocal sound. Every Robert Smith nuance, from weary croak to lonesome throaty outburst, was there, alongside the band’s trademark faraway windswept beauty, and yeah, the sound was bigger, less cheesy. In HTW, they went all in, wringing every hormone for happy-sad-happy angst, and along the way they’ve come to perceive themselves as a wildly diverse act, which they’re not, really. This aural approach has been around since the days Simple Minds owned MTV, and Mary Onettes have done little else but refine the black-clad-’80s rainy-beach vibe.  The conceptual trip now revolves around their latest obsessions, namely sci-fi and old photography books, but unless you read about that first-hand, you wouldn’t know Portico is a by-product of it, as the melodies are all cut from the same cloth as before.  The good news is they haven’t lost their uncanny knack for that ‘80s je ne sais quoi that makes you wish you were 15 again, but Portico is a little cold, less enthusiastic somehow, the Robert Smith imitation muted. It isn’t their Sgt. Pepper; maybe their Abbey Road, if you’ll pardon. Regardless, they’re very, very good at this stuff. A — Eric W. Saeger






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