Few artists would want to be described as pleasant, but that’s exactly what The Weepies’ infectious and disarmingly cute new album, Be My Thrill, aims to be — and is.
Led by cute handclaps and adorable trade-off vocals from duo Steve Tannen and Deb Talan, Be My Thrill is filled to the brim with cute melodies, cute rhyme schemes and cutely cliché lyrics about wistful love and sundrenched bliss.
The Weepies primarily play sub-4 minute peaceful folk-pop songs with smatterings of heavy-yet-never-intrusive electric guitars and bass. Their sound is happy, but not dance-y: tepid, but still bouncy, cute, but not polished.
The single, “I Was Made for Sunny Days” is a perfect example. After a chilling guitar intro, the song quickly settles into a head bobbing pop gem. “Every day is Sunday/ ‘Cause the sun comes dancing down/ I say I was made for sunny days,” sings Talan in an emphatic declaration of sunny innocence. The title track's bass line is almost criminally similar to Death Cab for Cutie’s “No Sunlight,” but sets a refreshing jogging pace for one of the album’s catchier tracks.
The Weepies are riding precariously alongside the popular musical niche of using one successful formula to write virtually the same song tens of times. It’s a pleasant little niche, but whether they’ll ever be able to break out of it or not — if they even want to — is questionable. Akin to The Shins in both sound and unfortunate self-redundancy, Be My Thrill’s 14 tracks, as beautiful as they may be, can quickly fall into the dreaded shadow of background music. It’s great homework music, but not as great as to engage a listener for 40 minutes.
Despite its setbacks, Be My Thrill is still a solid album that will not let down fans of The Weepies’ earlier material. Like that early material, it’s the sort of album to cuddle up to with a cozy stuffed animal on the corner of a bed while being lulled eventually to sleep. It may not be one of the year’s highlight albums, but it certainly comes through as one of the most charming.