Tally Hall | Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Quack!Media)

As evident from their attire—all decked out in white shirts, each with a different color tie—the boys from Tally Hall do not take themselves too seriously.

 

I am a music critic. As a music critic, it is my job to champion the complex and confusing music made freak-folk bands like Animal Collective and make fun of pop outfits like Tally Hall. For once, I’m going to take a step off my high horse, admit that I have never listened to an entire Animal Collective album more than once (or even enjoyed it that once), and confess to really enjoying the debut album from Ann Arbor’s Tally Hall. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum is pure fun.

Tally Hall, fresh from a successful April 2006 appearance on Fox’s The OC, is not afraid to experiment with different sounds or genres. Even though they sound their best when they stick to their roots and play simple pop songs, like the wonderful opener “Good Day,” sometimes their experimentation works out for the best. For example, the bluegrassy and bouncy banjo-and-violin–led“Just Apathy” is one of the best songs on the disc. Other times, though—as on the cringeworthy rap attempt of “Welcome to Tally Hall,” which ends up sounding like 311 meets Super Mario Brothers—I wish they would stick with what they do best.

Despite their penchant for experimentation, it is “Good Day” that showcases Tally Hall’s talent greater than any other song on the album. It opens with boys singing in perfect harmony before a choppy piano is added. This is a nearly perfect pop song; from its poppy verses to the slow and beautiful chorus, it’s a wonderful listen. Right when you think its over, the music falls out and is replaced by a solitary piano before erupting back into pop glory. Pop gem “Greener” is led by a punchy piano, with a rollicking guitar that fades from the chorus into a jerky guitar lick accompanied with more fantastic harmonization by the boys.

As evident from their attire—all decked out in white shirts, each with a different color tie—the boys from Tally Hall do not take themselves too seriously. This comes through in their music, too. In addition to the Shaggy-esque reggae of “Banana Man,” the album also contains an ode to the Olsen Twins (“Two Wuv”) and a song about the troubles of writing haikus, with no fewer than eight different, unsuccessful attempts at mastering the ancient poetry technique (“Haiku”).

Although Tally Hall may never make a snobby music critic’s best-of list, I’m sure they are poised to make a run at the Billboard Top Ten. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum is brimming with radio-ready pop so full of beautiful harmonies and dense catchy hooks, there is no way they won’t succeed.

RIYL: New Pornographers, Weezer


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