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Too Soon Monsoon

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Album Review

On Too Soon Monsoon, Wheatus' third full-length, self-production and engineering brings even the hugest pop melody right back down to earth. This would be a detriment to most bands, but it somehow makes Wheatus' music even more immediate, because Brendan B. Brown writes these intensely personal songs that combine stories of tough love in the 21st century with bittersweet childhood memories of bike ramp crushes and the general minutiae of music obsessive's life. "The sound of American radio's making me feel like I just killed my mom and my dad," he sings in "In the Melody," while "BMX Bandits" is a fuzzy guitar pop fantasy about foxy Diamondback bike riders. Meanwhile in "Hometown," Brown's gentle rumination on 9/11, he avoids melodrama by recounting the tragedy in the context of a personal relationship with the twin towers. ("I told her that they reminded me of Motown '60s skinny ties....") The rousing choruses of these songs, alongside the same in "London Sun," "Desperate Songs," and "I Am What I Is," reveal a songwriter and band unconcerned with their past major-label woes, or even with sounding professional, since "professional" can also mean too slick. Yes, they just long to be close to you, drawing on 1980s power pop and the sweet cynicism of the Eels to make a record that often rings winsome in its lyrics but has some really sturdy songwriting under the surface. Don't let Wheatus' ho-hum cover art or unassuming production style fool you — Too Soon Monsoon is a pop gem, and it's made to be heard.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Long Island-based singer/songwriter Brendan B. Brown formed Wheatus as a vehicle for his witty, energetic rock songs. The quartet began taking shape in 1995, when Brown enlisted the help of his brother, drummer Peter Brown, as well as multi-instrumentalist Phil A. Jimenez and bassist Rich Leigey (replaced in July 2000 by Mike McCabe). The musicians recorded their self-titled debut album in the Brown home, helming the production themselves, before signing a contract with Columbia Records and releasing...
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Too Soon Monsoon, Wheatus
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