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Had Pageants dropped their debut LP Forever in 2011-12, during the band’s infancy – when some of the songs contained herein had actually been written and recorded – the album would have stood better than half a chance of exuding the brainy cleverness and eliciting the whimsical, carefree glee to which it so obviously strives.
Instead, the album and its lead-up singles finally see the light of day in 2017-18, now that kitschy, tongue-in-cheek indie pop has worn out its welcome and when we have far better things to exert our eroding attention spans on other than Pageants’ brand of faux-psych pop.
The majority of the album is maddeningly inoffensive, slightly gauzy West Coast indie pop of which there are a dime a dozen nowadays. There are patches of Beach Housiness that truly make you appreciate that band’s deft sense of toeing the border of pathos and slo-mo juggling of weightlessness and gravity, none of which is found here in Forever. Song titles like “Cacti for Clothes”, “Lingr”, and “Calico Sunrise” are simply willfully strange names for tunes completely bereft of said weirdness.
“Chai” (the Hebrew symbol conveying fortune of wealth, not the delicious spiced tea) and “Musings of the Tide” are actually bits of savory bacon floating in this otherwise drab, homogeneous pea-soup of an album. There are finally hints of grit and uneasiness juxtaposing the overt poppiness of the tunes – something West Coast pop/rock artists have long excelled at capturing, yet is not otherwise remotely offered throughout the rest of Forever.
Unfortunately, Forever falls well short of any tasty expectations Rebecca Coleman had mustered when she left Avi Buffalo in 2011 to, in so many words, make the kind of music she wanted to make. With boundaries truly being pushed in a number of pop/rock arenas these days, Coleman grasping to her former band’s cod-adventurousness seems likes such a wasted endeavor.