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Little Happyness

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Album Review

Following the grandiose Baroque ambitions of the Jim O'Rourke-produced Pedals and the John Herndon-helmed electro-pop of Pelo, the Aluminum Group's fifth LP, Happyness, is both a return to their roots and a continuation of all that's come before, recalling the sly, sophisticated synth melodies of the Plano album while at the same time incorporating the torch ballad elegance, layered arrangements, and programmed beats that made intervening efforts so rewarding. The first installment of a proposed trilogy, Happyness (misspelling theirs) boasts a cinematic flair that conjures a Chicago nightlife much too stylish and cool to actually exist. Rarely, if ever, have synths sounded so truly urbane, and the cumulative effect is postmodernist pop music that sounds simultaneously cutting edge, retro, and utterly timeless.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Named in honor of a line of furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames, the Chicago-based chamber-pop outfit the Aluminum Group was led by brothers John and Frank Navin, longtime staples of the Wicker Park music scene who first surfaced in 1983 as members of the hardcore band Women in Love. Always harboring a secret affecton for the music of the Carpenters and Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, the Navins eventually formed the Aluminum Group, stubbornly pursuing their brand of lushly orchestrated pop until...
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Little Happyness, The Aluminum Group
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