9/99: Pulse! 9/99

Thornhill Review

These precocious Canadians' prior output was comprised largely of unctuous cutesiness in the vein of their Canuck homies Barenaked Ladies. But this, the band's fifth album, finds the foursome trading their jokey acoustic ditties for a surprisingly engaging power-pop approach that showcases the band's two most notable qualities, i.e. an impressive mastery of song structure and genial four-man harmonies. Amiably Sgt. Pepper-ish ditties like "Half As Much," "Sad Girl" and "When She Talks" boast enough melodic uplift to compensate for what they lack in passion or emotional authenticity, while the more melancholy "Downsizing" and "If You Only Knew" [sic] demonstrate genuine insight and compassion. The hook-laden buzz doesn't hold out for the duration, but Thornhill is one-half of a terrific pop album. ***

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