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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 172 - 09/23/10

Admiral Radley
I Heart California
The Ship

When Admiral Radley settled for their name they scrapped Grandimart and Earlidaddy. The quartet was formed by two former members of Grandaddy (Jason Lytle and Aaron Burtch) and Earlimart (Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray) - two bands with a 10 year long friendship between them (a friendship starting when Ariana talked Earlimart onto Grandaddy's guest-list when Grandaddy opened for Grant Lee Buffalo). The band formed (formally) last year, I Heart California was released in July, followed by a tour entitled "I Heart California...and the rest of the West Coast". Sounds like a sweet and sun-scorched trip.

The sunny and light-footed title track opens the album. Quite catchy, but also a bit cheesy. As in clichés. It's even a bit Supertram-ish - maybe not the most fashionable thing to be. I Heart California holds three songwriters; Lytle (being the major creator/supplier?, Espinoza and Murray - the three of them singing their own songs (I guess). While I find Spinoza's "Ghosts of Syllables" a bit too trad, and Lytle's "Sunburn Kids" (no, it's not a new "Summer Here Kids") rather annoying, Murray's waltzy The Thread is a rather delicate piece. "Lonesome Co." (Lytle) is quite good, "Red Curbs" (Lytle) is really enjoyable, almost like latter days Grandaddy. "I'm All Fucked On Beer" stupid/horrible (whatever you prefer) as its title implies. Period. "Ending Of Me" is another Grandaddy out-take. Well, it could've been.

"GNDN" is a slow-waving ballad, which is quite charming. "Chingas In the West" (Spinoza?) is not that bad, but fairly too pale and weak. Lytle's closing "I Left You Cuz I Luft You" is one of the highlights of the album. Yet again it's a ballad, with pianos and Grandaddy-like synth sounds. Neat. And a perfect closer, just the right dose of heartbreak.

All in all I Heart California is a somewhat friendly and catchy listen. I'm afraid that's not enough when there aren't enough golden nuggets.

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