Wanderlust (Satellite Records)
By: Alex Steininger
A girl/boy duo from Toronto, Chicklet captures the human spirit -- emotions, conflicts, and all of life's ups and downs -- in every lush, beautifully laid out pop song. Julie Park's lead vocals (on the majority of the tracks) are sweet and gentle. Daniel Barida's vocals, however, are a bit rougher, capturing the louder side of the band.
"Superficial" starts the album off with a ricocheting keyboard; very infectious and full of life, you know, just from the echo of the keyboard, that this album is going to be a sweet pop gem that will take you in and warm you up. And, when Julie comes in with the vocals, and the full band sound hits, the laid back smoothness of the sound is fully realized. Then, the chorus hits and a bit of a shock is sent through the song as it picks up and starts to lean more towards its rock side than pop. But, the lush, golden flavor that lights up the disc from top to bottom is always present.
"Elastic" mixes Julie's sweet, delicate vocals into a more rock-oriented environment. Her voice not only adopts easily, but also takes control of the song from the get go. The chorus lays a few hooks your way, not to mention some strong lyrics, and some more laid back melodies. The swirling guitars and light beat of the rhythm section gently glide over Julie's vocals, giving the chorus the sweet sugar spot of the song that echoes around in your head for hours upon hours until you indulge again.
"Let Me Go (My Own Way)" seems to lose the band's infectious nature that each song is built around. All the components are still there -- Julie's beautiful voice, the melting of guitars onto the rhythm section, and a gentle mist throughout -- but the hooks aren't as sharp or vibrant as in other numbers. The bridge starts to hook you, but the verse seems pretty leveled. It's monotone style just keeps going without a bump, and the song gets repetitious.
Never fear though, because they quickly pick back up and make you forget about the song (which isn't that bad as a song, it just doesn't live up to the potential this band demonstrates on all the other tracks). "Shark's Smile" is another fine example of why this band is one of indie pop's best-kept secrets. This time Daniel gets a chance to sing lead, and the other face of the band is revealed. Not as lush or sweet as Julie's songs, Daniel makes sure the band is knee deep in rock 'n' roll, without altogether losing their crafty pop melodies. Bouncy and fun, it possesses a more go-get-'em beat than the majority of the songs.
You just can't help tap your toes and move your body to every track on this disc. The hooks, the melodies, the vocals, and the instrumentation are all top notch, and if you try to deny it, they'll get you even more. Here are some solid pop songs that will make you feel good all over. I'll give it an A.