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Little Champions | Transactions + Replications (Barsuk)
On the same label as 'new pop' darlings Death Cab For Cutie, Little Champions release their second album in two years packed with unexpected hooks and an overall playfulness that sometimes takes your breath away. The band wear their influences firmly on their sleeves, The B52's, Make Up and Blondie spring easily to mind. What, among other things, makes this Seattle band stand out is the clever and astute boy-girl vocals courtesy of siblings Becky and Scott Harbine. The lyrics maybe downright silly and unintelligible sometimes, but one tends to pay it no mind as it all adds to the overall sense of fun. A random sampling: The Idiot Seat is early B52's at their quirkiest; Kerplunken sounds like the Sea and Cake not taking themselves too seriously, Man Bikini is Stereolab taking a step up the talent ladder. Most of the album was recorded in or around the Barsuk headquarters in Portland, Oregon or in various members' households in Seattle. The variation in tune, often within the same track, coupled with complex arrangements and keyboards bouncing all over the place suggest that while the band may be very much at home for the time being, they leave us pondering with ample anticipation just what their next move will be.

Torbjorn Wickman
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001