Ivy

Guestroom (Minty Fresh)

There's nothing wrong with self-consciously lightweight pop records that seem to exist solely to spark a smile or a warm flutter in the abdomen--ever heard the Association's "Never My Love" on a rainy Sunday afternoon and wished it would go on forever? On Guestroom the self-consciously lightweight New York City trio Ivy attempts to double that ingenuous charm back on itself by applying its breezy lounge-pop sheen to covers of 10 of those smile-provoking gems. Most of the time they really hit the spot: Their version of the Cure's "Let's Go to Bed" floats singer Dominique Durand's airy croon over a beefed-up percussion pattern and the kind of spindly guitar arpeggios Robert Smith used to get weepy over; a brisk, harmony-drenched run through bookish Australian popsters the Go-Betweens' "Streets of Your Town" wonders why that band dodged widespread success like it did; a perky acoustic reading of the House of Love's "I Don't Know Why I Love You" makes a strong case for the return of "college rock." Even the band's calypso-tinged remake of Steely Dan's "Only a Fool Would Say That," which it originally tackled for Me, Myself & Irene's all-Dan-covers soundtrack, smacks of salads and sun. But Ivy loses its footing on a pointless, Hi-NRG gloss on labelmates Papas Fritas' "Say Goodbye" and on a listless rendition of the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," where multi-instrumentalists Andy Chase and Adam Schlesinger replace Phil Spector's fuzzy wall of sound with a slippery curtain of watery trip-hop mush. It's proof that you don't have to rewrite the book on pop to sell a song, but you can't just skim the margins.

 
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