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The Jessica Fletchers – Less Sophistication

Rainbow Quartz, 2005

Yes, the Jessica Fletchers.  Right again, based on the character from “Murder, She Wrote”.  These guys are even from Norway, so how the heck did they decide as a band that they’re going to name themselves after an 1980s detective played by Angela Lansbury?  Apparently “The Old Lady Detectives” wasn’t swinging enough for them.  Maybe this is a shout out to some sort of rerun that was popular in Norway when they were growing up, where “Murder, She Wrote” brought them joy when Jessica Fletcher busted some of her own friends as murderers.  Those were uncomfortable episodes (and yes, my parents watched the show and I enjoyed picking out the gardeners or church ladies who dabbled in murder).  I only wish some other shows might have been popular in Norway, like “The Golden Girls” or “Different Strokes”.  How killer would it be to see a show with the Jessica Fletchers, the Estelle Gettys, and the Watchu Talkin Bout Willises?  I would BE there.

If one could liquify a Snickers bar, add even more sugar, and top with whipped cream it’d be the Jessica Fletchers.  If that concoction sounds delicious to you, well, sip away in your plastic cup and extra long straw.  However, if the description made you gag then you’re going to hate this.  The Jessica Fletchers pour on all of the tricks associated with a hardworking pop band.  They’ve got the five relative handsome guys with five foppish hairstyles.  There’s even a guy with a mustache for good measure … though the guy with the glasses sort of looks like a psycho killer.  Anyway, one does not need to listen to the record for very long to determine whether they’re going to love it or hate it.

The first track sounds like the second track that sounds like the third track, which is to say that it’s all poppy cheerfulness without a moment of weight.  “It Happens Tonight” has Thomas Innsto singing his best high-voiced John Lennon impression while the backing vocals by three (!) other members of the band remind me of some kind of seventies cartoon theme song.  The guitar is light, the keyboard is charming, and there is absolutely no lull in happiness.  “Magic Bar” follows suit with an overdose of falsetto “la la la la la”s during the chorus.  They don’t even get tired of that la la stuff during “How Unlucky (Can You Possibly Get)” which also features a flute!  A flute!!  These guys can rack up the inoffensive pop points like no other band I’ve heard.

On “Get Connected” I did notice that the descending keyboard notes, as well as the vocal breaths, that introduce the song sound like a nod to the Zombies’ “Time of the Season”.  That’s not so bad, I like that song.  However, the chorus comes across as one of those Elton John numbers from the seventies … which I guess is the good time period of Elton John, which then scores these guys another one of those inoffensive pop points.  Really, if you haven’t poked your eyes out by now just imagining how poppily pure this band must sound like, I present to you the song “I Need Love”.  You don’t even have to know what that tune sounds like to know that five guys gave the okay to put a song called “I Need Love” on an album.  Laying the chick-digging strategies on a little thick, eh guys?

You too can be overwhelmed with upbeat, finger-snapping music by having a listen to some Jessica Fletchers songs at MySpace or Last.fm!

Well, I don’t know how one sorts it out over time, but despite the Jessica Fletchers’ best efforts to bask me in direct sunlight with their music, it’s not really my thing.  Yet I do believe that if someone did like this kind of carefree, high sugar content music then it would be a great listen.  There really isn’t a downer on the entire album, and none of the songs veer very far from the same intent the band began with on the opener of “It Happens Tonight”.  So if this sounds like your kind of fun, the good news is that the band put out a couple of more albums after this one.  Unfortunately, their main website doesn’t work anymore, which usually means one thing:  the Jessica Fletchers may have solved their last case of boohoo blues.

Jessica Fletcher eying her next suspect.

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