With all the ephemeral, mediocre, and just plain bad pop music these days, it’s easy to forget how subversive the genre can truly be. UK combo The Beautiful South, for example, can sound disarmingly sweet and virtually innocuous while sliding lyrical daggers between your ribs. The same could be said of Swedish ensemble Lacrosse. Loaded with syrupy-sweet melodic hooks, perky-sounding co-ed vocals, and borderline cheesy (well, dated) synth-pop motifs and instrumentation, Are You Thinking of Me Every Minute of Every Day? frequently evokes the synth-pop of the early- and mid-Eighties: namely, Martha & the Muffins, Human League, Thompson Twins, and fellow Scandinavians a-ha.
The title track features pert but slightly droll vocals and bubbly pulsing music, so at first you might not notice the bleakness of the lyrics: It’s such a shame that we couldn’t make things last … I always said the wrong things. While the boy/girl vocals of “Give You More” and insistent march-like tempo sound so very America’s Got Talent, there’s a sarcastic edge to them — they have the insistence of jingles from hell with quasi-cheerfulness belying the bile in the words. “The Key” has a ringing guitar solo that recalls Big Country and a swelling, swaying chorus that even Lou Reed or Leonard Cohen might find a little dour: Here’s the key/Here’s the receipt/Welcome to loneliness/This is where your life begins. Lacrosse conjoins the bitter lyrical pills of Reed, Costello, and Amy Mann with the froth of Eighties’ guilty pleasures. Voices carry, indeed. (Tapete)