Thursday, September 18, 2008
Let’s Whisper: Make Me Smile (2008)
More than a little baby side project of The Smittens, Colin Clary and Dana Kaplan as Let’s Whisper have released their first album/EP, Make Me Smile, on Wee Pop! Records. And really, they are the perfect spokespersons for Wee Pop, probably even more so than Little My.
Let’s Whisper is CUTE CUTE CUTE and they have an almost militant devotion to simplicity and explore every trick of the Twee Pop trade on Make Me Smile without ever sounding bored or tired. Really, it’s as if they had never heard music before and these songs are born from a naivety and enthusiastic desire to well, make me smile.
“Dylan’s Song” opens and closes the album (the final one acoustic) and provides a perfect framing device. Now, declaratory songs (Songs that address the audience or somehow introduce or close an album explicitly) aren’t new and are probably super in fashion these days, but Dana and Colin manage to (with western guitar, taut basslines and dreamy harmonies) make that kind of song into an inviting and exciting experience, zero pretensions to boot. It’s an open arms kind of a welcome. We should all be hugging more often I think.
For how adorable Let’s Whisper come off as, they have a swagger that is pretty well defined. On “Hey Sunshine,” the ukuleles are springing, the bass bouncing and the drums swinging. The lyrics, “Sweetie, you’re making me weak in the knees/Darling, you’re starring in all my movies,” contain just enough sexual nuance by Dana’s voice that really, this could be a hip hop song in some alternate universe.
“When You Were Eating Ice Cream” is the only instance where Let’s Whisper falls into uber-preciousness that could make one slightly queasy. Kind of funny considering the subject matter, but when Colin and Dana sing, “Go ice cream! Go Ice Cream!/Go nummy num num!” It’s a little much. The song ultimately redeems itself because the metaphor is inventive and fitting with theme of Make Me Smile.
I think Let’s Whisper meant “Tender Circles” to be the true end to Make Me Smile, but the lyrics are a little too funky to provide any real closure. But the lines, “Maybe she was a princess/Once, a couple turns ago…” are pretty evocative and quite clever.
Ending on a stripped down demo of “Dylan’s Song” is perfect and hits at the root of what Let’s Whisper are about. Dana and Colin on Make Me Smile aren’t simply just making smaller versions of Smittens material, rather they are creating a warmer more intimate look into the little things in life that possess us and never let go.
Let's Whisper-"Hey Sunshine"
Let's Whisper on Myspace!
Wee Pop! Records