Remember the good ol’ days? No, I don’t mean Clinton’s presidency. I mean way back when men were men, women were women, and sweater sets weren’t just a submissive sex outfit. Yeah, I don’t either. And neither does Saturday Looks Good To Me.
But they really like the music from that time (do I really need to say Phil Spector?), something that was more than evident on 2003’s All Your Summer Songs. That album’s four-track journey was successful because it never let up; thirteen songs at less than forty minutes with minor transitions turned what could have dragged with nostalgia and concept-heft into a record worthy of its title.
Every Night isn’t quite more of the same, but the best work on the record doesn’t show much progression in sound. “Since You Stole My Heart” and “All Over Town” are great heartbreak songs with strong start-and-stop sections. “Until the World Stops Spinning” uses a string section that almost sounds like the sample Mike Skinner used for “Dry Your Eyes,” but it makes it a great song, as does the string section of “The Girl’s Distracted.”
But most of the truly divergent work this time constitutes the album’s weakest moments. Fred Thomas, the only permanent member of the group and its songwriter and producer, has a talent for bombastic production and innocent melodies. But his voice doesn’t fit the music, and often times he drags his songs into dreary corners where better vocalists could have taken the material into the open. The album’s later songs, the acoustic back-to-back “When the Party Ends” and “Dialtone” in particular, have great sections but are momentum killing.
One thing I have loved about Saturday Looks Good To Me is that every song they make sounds like the secret song on someone else’s album — the throwaway track that soon becomes your favorite because you think you’re the only one who discovered it. It’s not surprising that the group’s work was initially created on tape loops in Thomas’s basement. The music almost reaches the paradoxical area where the very fact that you found out about it means you can’t like it. Once the members of Saturday Looks Good To Me start to refine their sound and take themselves seriously, they begin to lose their attractiveness. That secretive feeling is still present on the majority of Every Night. Let’s hope they never lose it completely.