Album Reviews

The Legal Matters

Conrad

Artist:     The Legal Matters

Album:     Conrad

Label:     Omnivore Recording

Release Date:     10/28/2016

94

Let’s have no talk of a sophomore slump around here. Conrad, the glorious second album from Detroit power-pop pushers, the Legal Matters, beats the dreaded curse with engaging, mood-elevating recordings that range from simple and catchy to breathtakingly sophisticated. In some sense, it almost feels too perfect– as if each immaculately crafted song was sent fully formed from a factory set in a technicolor Land of Oz– but therein lies the genius of the firm of Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith. They make you believe again in songwriting magic, that with a wave of a wand all the rich, exquisite harmonies and every melodic flourish will turn out just as God and the Legal Matters intended, as “I’m Sorry Love” transforms into a colorful, Beatlesque carnival and “Minor Key” becomes flush with pop warmth. More wintery and delicate, “The Cool Kid” assumes the chilled expression of the Velvet Underground, while the bittersweet acoustic rendering of “Pull My String” aches with sincerity – both swept up beautifully in lush floods of string sounds. The product of keen attention to detail, of impeccable tailoring, Conrad is a charmer, the gentle, summery swing and romantic innocence of “More Birds Less Bees” as enticing as a hammock on a sunny, breezy afternoon and a slightly gnarly “Short Term Memory” invoking fond memories of Girlfriend-era Matthew Sweet. Every song gets a favorable verdict.

-Peter Lindblad

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