Army Navy: Army Navy

I am going to say something Army Navy will love, followed by something that will make them want to kill me. Army Navy’s self-titled album is a dandy collection of jangly pop rock that will have fans of Robyn Hitchcock and Teenage Fanclub jumping for joy. Singer Justin Kennedy has a delicate but steady voice, and his melodies are instantly hummable. Now for the part that will make their blood boil: they’re a power pop band, which is usually the kiss of death for a band’s commercial prospects. Still, who knows: Jack’s Mannequin’s first album was a power pop record, and they’re doing just fine, thank you. That said, Jack’s Mannequin never wrote anything as dreamy and harmony-laden as “Dark as Days” or “Slight of Hand,” the latter of which just scored a spot on the soundtrack for “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” Will Kennedy’s connection to Ben Gibbard (they were both in the band Pinwheel) carry Army Navy over the power pop barrier? God, we hope so. We understand the bias against power pop – most of the bands that play it admittedly suck – but Army Navy deserves better than that. Here’s hoping they get it. (The Fever Zone 2008)

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