The 88: Over and Over

The 88
Over and Over
Mootron Records

The 88 make pop records for cynics to sunbathe to. Relax. Snap your fingers to the beat. Turn your face toward the West Coast sunshine and get snarky with the 88's singer/songwriter Keith Slettedahl. "Hide Another Mistake" starts the band's latest release, Over and Over; it floats between the Beach Boys and the Kinks. It's a song that talks about messing up even as it bounces along (maybe it should run for president).

The ghosts of AM gold haunt Over and Over: I've had Three Dog Night's "One" (Is the Loneliest Number) in my head ever since listening to the 88's "Everybody Loves Me." The songs have similar intros, starting with the beat of a single piano chord, and then Slettedahl comes in with the titular line, a sad-sack situation that's nonetheless catchy. A few songs later, during "Head Cut Off," I think I've started hallucinating. That's what happens when you eat an indie-pop brownie made from a quick-mix of Billie Joel, Supertramp, and the Beatles.

My favorite song of the lot, "Nobody Cares," is a happy ditty that delivers a blow to some complainer out there: "Nobody cares what you've been through," sings Slettedahl, "And nobody cares how much you do/And nobody cares what kind of drugs you're on." It's a harsh message made easy to digest, with hand claps and clear electric guitar to back it up.

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