October 13, 2002

Tender Trap "Film Molecules"

Ahhhh..Tender Trap...they're heavenly! No, wait, really, they are! Okay, okay, forgive the bad pun. I'm just super-excited to hear Amelia Fletcher's new project, Tender Trap. Amelia's got one of the sweetest, prettiest pop voices you'll ever hear, and her bands Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, and Marine Research, while slightly different, were all wonderful due in part to her charming, always-got-a-smile-on-her-face vocals.

Unlike her other groups, though, Tender Trap's a much more varied bag of musical styles. Peter Momtchiloff is gone, and while his guitar genius may be absent, it's not particularly missed, because Tender Trap's not really a guitar band. It's more of a mixed bag, with a little bit of guitar rock ("Oh Katrina," "Dyspraxic," "Chemical Reaction") but with more emphasis on the beats, and such numbers as "That Girl" and "Face of '73" find Tender Trap going places with dance beats that none of her other bands ever came close to creating. There are also odd little experiments such as "Emma" which focus on minimal electronic backing, letting Fletcher's vocals come out to the front. There are also a few sad ballads, such as "Love is Red/Green" and the heartbreaking "Brown Eyes," which is about a breakup, but for some reason I'm also thinking that she's talking about her brother, the late Mathew Fletcher, who was Heavenly's (and Talulah Gosh's) drummer. Of course, I may be wrong about that, but, you know, that history is there...

Tender Trap's music is not a real surprise, considering their pedigree. It's a much more rewarding project than Marine Research, which, while nice, seemed to find Heavenly rowing with a broken mast due to the death of Mathew Fletcher. While there's nothing on Film Molecules to make you forget about Heavenly or Marine Research, there's nothing on here that'll make you think that Fletcher and company are treading the same ground. Film Molecules provides you, dear listener, with the sunny, pleasant, intelligent pop that your life so dreadfully desires.

--Joseph Kyle

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