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Aberdeen | Homesick And Happy To Be Here (Better Looking)
A decade after their first single for Sarah Records, 'Homesick...' is, finally, the debut album from Californian indie-poppers Aberdeen. Now fully reformed after relationship breakdowns had previously shattered the band, Aberdeen return from the cold with a record of perfectly crafted, wistful melodies. Far from a put-down, this is simply a lovely, uncomplicated listen - at times shamelessly sugary - yet even the iciest of hearts would melt a little after hearing some of these tunes. 'Homesick...' is crammed with summery yet delicate pop songs, constructed from rising rhythms, perfectly judged vocal harmonies and the occasional clever turn of phrase. The standout talent on display is undoubtedly singer Beth Arzy (now also of the Trembling Blue Stars) who has a pitch capable of soothing cares away as well as the skill to drop lines such as "I liked you better with your trousers around your ankles" and yet still sound completely innocent. Wholly naive, like a cross between The Sundays and Dressy Bessy, these songs document stories of teenage doubts and regrets from a set of adults now more likely to be pre-occupied with paying their mortgages. Besides some gorgeous spangly hooks though, what makes Aberdeen so delightful is that they're completely convincing, swiftly returning our thoughts to records that we've previously loved but have long placed out of reach. This may be one hopelessly sepia-tinged outing but absolutely, we're more than '...Happy To Be Here' too.

Ian Fletcher
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002