Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles: Special Party Time for Everybody

Success has agreed with Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles. Up to now, the star power that led to the youthful folk-pop septet topping 2008's Picked to Click poll existed solely in the ephemeral medium of live music; now they can add a truly solid recording to their burgeoning résumé. While their awkward but winning debut, Orange Peels and Rattle Snakes, was clearly the sound of a band making its first baby steps into the world, their sophomore release, Special Party Time for Everybody, delivers on the promise of its title. The six-piece band of merry noisemakers still fuses "Gypsy" folk trappings of the Beirut school and jazzy vocal tics with traditional folk-song structures, but what once felt like a cute stylistic mash-up has here coalesced into a fully realized sound.

With deceptively muscular rhythms anchoring most of the album's 14 tracks, the songs never lose their bearing even if Michelle opts for one too many flights of whistling fancy (she really likes to whistle). Highlights include the hip-swaying hot-sax showcase "Hotel" and the album-closing buddy anthem "Wayne and Garth," undoubtedly one of the few tunes that uses Mike Myers and Dana Carvey's long haired comedic creations as a jumping off point for a poignant examination on lasting friendship.

 
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