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What Happened to The?

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Album Review

Jessica Fletchers show a lot more imagination and style than many of the bands mining the rich load of neo-psychedelia, certainly more than the bands on their label, Rainbow Quartz. The group hails from Norway and is firmly stuck back in the mid-'60s about where the Kinks meet the Small Faces, just down the lane from where the Marmalade and the Move hang out. They aren't strict recreationists on What Happened to the ?; however, there is a thoroughly modern dose of Elephant 6-style cuteness on songs like "Early Monday" and "Do You Know What She Hides." They also take some elements from garage rock (pounding tempos, simple chords changes) on songs like "Let's Go" and "Beatbox." Throw in some Beach Boys (the cuddly "You Can Have Japan"), Beatles (the dreamy "Shoot"), and the Spencer Davis Group ("I Got News") and you have quite the comprehensive, not to mention entertaining, tour of the mid-'60s. They also pay a lot of attention to arrangements, making sure to stuff each song full of interesting sonic details. This keeps the similarly written songs from all sounding the same. And it helps the band claw its way through the crowd of bands trying to do similar things and make What Happened to the ? one of the more interesting debuts of 2003. It's just a shame that the cover design is so uninteresting. Rainbow Quartz should have used the original cover that the record had when it was released in Norway. It would be too bad if the amateurish look turned away prospective fans. If you are one of those fans, please don't judge this book by its cover.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Jessica Fletchers' free-spirited, effervescent approach to indie pop, steeped in the influence of psychedelic and bubblegum pop groups of the 1960s (the Monkees, the Association), nods to the Bicycles, Tullycraft, and the Apples in Stereo. Originally comprised of Bjorn Rune Lie, Vegard Syrstad, Andreas Mastrup, Thomas Innstø , and Rune Somdal, the group formed in a suburb of Oslo, Norway, in 1997, naming themselves after the crime-fighting mystery writer, played by Angela Lansbury, central to...
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What Happened to The?, The Jessica Fletchers
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