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Album Review

Philly group the Bigger Lovers keep true their vision of intelligent power pop on their third album, This Affair Never Happened...and Here Are Eleven Songs About It. And thankfully, the group still possesses the flashes of blindingly pure and melodic guitar pop that marked 2002's excellent Honey in the Hive — in fact this album even exceeds that high-water mark. "I Resign" is a sugar-crusted pop confection that should go down in the annals with forgotten classics like Big Star's "September Gurls" or the Records' "Starry Eyes" for its unabashed pop melodicism. "Ninja Suit" is the kind of dead-right swooning pop anthem (complete with swelling backup vocals) that the Velvet Crush have been circling toward, but never quite reaching, for years. (And anyone who has seen drummer Patrick Berkery do his thing live with the Lovers or with the Pernice Brothers will notice that he hits them much like the Velvet Crush's Ric Menck.) The Bigger Lovers succeed at both ends of the power pop spectrum, able to knock of cheeky, pastel-toned quirk like "Slice of Life" at the one end and earnest, spine-tinglers like "Peel It Away" at the other. In the latter, Ed Hogarty's bright, sharp leads wind their way around Brett Tobias' muttering and stuttering rhythmic tones — and it's that ear-pleasing guitar interplay that bolsters many of the tunes. Music criticism is often guilty of hyperbole, overt enthusiasms and overstatement — but rest assured that the Bigger Lovers are one of the best bands trolling the timeless power pop landscape in the new millennium. That's no hyperbole.


Formed: 1998 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Philadelphia's Bigger Lovers -- singer/guitarist Bret Tobias, guitarist Ed Hogarty, bassist Scott Jefferson, and drummer Patrick Berkery -- debuted in 2001 with How I Learned to Stop Worrying, a critical favorite that aligned the quartet with like-minded Big Star/Byrds/Band devotees like Pernice Brothers, Waxwings, and Beachwood Sparks. In the can since 1999, the album was shelved when its original label -- North Carolina's Mood Food -- went belly up. When the LP did finally appear, it bore the insignia...
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This Affair Never Happened..., The Bigger Lovers
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