When Lush came to a sudden, tragic end in 1996, they did so at a time of transition. Their recent album, Lovelife, had just been released, and they had handed in a lot of the ethereal melodies in exchange for a poppier, more traditional sound. While ultimately Lovelife wasn't that great of a record, it proved that at least Lush were trying something new, something that might not work initially, but could have proved interesting after some time had passed. Because Lush came to such a sudden end, this formula has proven to be the starting point for many bands.
Los Angeles' Fonda has been making dreamy pop music for many years, inspired in part by the dreamy shoegaze-pop of bands like Lush. After years of flirting with success (literally--their songs have appeared on TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tru Calling, and they even composed the theme song to one of the Spy Kids movies), they've never failed to deliver quality dream-pop. Catching Up To The Future, their third album, is both a dreamy treasure and a delight for pop lovers. Though they've been busy with other things for the past few years, it's obvious that it wasn't to the detriment of their music; Catching Up To The Future is a strong, confident album made by pop-loving experts, and it shows.
Indeed, it seems as if Lovelife served as their template for their new record. Emily Cook--who sounds a lot like Miki Bereyni--sings with all the passion and conviction of a pop singer, yet she retains the cool of your hippest ex-shoegazer star. At times her singing is a bit contradictory; the words are cold and distant, yet she sings them with a warmth that quickly draws you in. On songs such as "Imitation of Life" and "Loving You Makes Me Sad," she's joined by David Klotz, and the vocal interplay between boy/girl makes these sweet little songs even sweeter. The real winner, though, is "Say Goodbye To Love," where all of the things that make Fonda great all blend together: the unisex vocals, the blissed out guitars, the tender lyrics--it's all so wonderfully wonderful.
Simple pop songs--who knew? Though it's an extremely brief affair, Catching Up To The Future is a wonderful dose of shoegazer-inspired dream pop. And, you know, I'm rooting for these kids; they've got such a lovely little sound, and kudos to them for carving a niche as a soundtrack band--these kids today need to hear good music, and if Fonda's the conduit to them discovering such bands as Lush and Ride, then, hey, it's worth it, isn't it?