Epic, 70-minute albums have their pleasures, but there's something to be said for keeping things short and to the point. There's a distinct pleasure in a quick, compact album where every song hits its mark, and when it's over you're ready to play it again. TOURISM, from the Kansas City trio The Sexy Accident, is one of those albums: 10 songs, 30 minutes of sleek, punchy pop-rock that is infectious and fun, yet still filled with real-world emotions, stories, and settings.
'Playability' is a vague concept I guess, but TOURISM is the epitome of it: an album you can play and play and play - listen to, sing to, live with. The appeal lies in part with their tight, rhythmic, melodic style of pop-rock, with guitars, bass, and drums blending seamlessly. And it also comes from the everyday, universal quality of the songs themselves. Jesse Kates sings in an non-rock-star, low-key style that I find endearing. It fits his real-life style of lyrics well, whether he's singing about the adventures of a video game player ("Undefeated Champion of the Arcade") or lambasting an unfaithful lover ("Ashley Christian").
The lyrics are detailed, seem carefully crafted, and reflect circumstances from life as we know it (in the "Arcade" song, for example, the video arcade is torn down to make way for a Rite Aid). And in every case the musical tone is designed perfectly for the song's content. The video game player in "Arcade" is sung about over more driving, aggressive (but still quite pop) music. The blissful lovers' scene set up in "Morning Pales" is accompanied with gently alluring guitars, for example. Similar guitars loudly explode and ring out during "Bottled in Glass", reflecting both the hurt and the wistfulness of the lost-love tale.
A feeling of loss, wrapped up with memory and wishes and regrets and hope, runs through the album's second half, culminating with the gorgeous final track, "The More Things Stay the Same," an attempted new beginning hopeful in tone if not content. It's one of the most unique songs on the album, catchy even as it's particularly low-key and gentle. It ends an outstanding album on a high note.
- Dave Heaton, erasing clouds
There's something to be said about nerdy power pop that can poke fun of itself, and The Sexy Accident is a shining example. One part Cheap Trick and one part They Might Be Giants, TSA out maneuvers all expectations by weaving geeky intelligence and humor throughout their quirky rock opus.
Perhaps their finest moment is Undefeated Champion of The Arcade,
where all their elements come together in a perfect unit. It's
got a groovy droning guitar line, with nasal-toned vocals boasting
about video gaming skills, along with a lament about the arcade
being torn down to build a Rite-Aid. What's not to love?
- Mish Mash