Spring Breakup - It's Not You, It's Me
Described in their press as “the unusual musical marriage between Yukon songwriter Kim Barlow and Mathias Kom, nouveau Newfoundlander and leader of The Burning Hell. They like to live as far as possible from each other, and then get together and write pretty little ukulele and banjo songs about the inevitable end of love.” Banjo! Ukelele! Girl/boy vocals! Oh my! Add in some heartbreak and you’ve got what amounts to the CUTEST 13 songs you’ve heard in a long long time. Cute hardly even begins to describe Spring Breakup, try: delightful, darling, adorable, and even saccharine at times.
There is a lot of pop music about the “inevitable end of love” and most of it falls into a category of terrible cliché. The Spring Breakup are no different. Combining the usual suspects of end-of-love songs (cheating, suicide, fear, self-loathing, loneliness, etc…) along with cutesy boy/girl singing and a lo-fi drumless sound, It’s Not You, It’s Me sounds like much of what is gracing the headphones of every hipster on the street. Matt and Kim would likely recommend drums and Zooey Deschanel will continue to reign supreme over the cuteness camp and it’s fair to say that Spring Breakup will be the cutest band the Yukon ever produced but that may be all there is to say in the end.
This isn’t to say that there is nothing great about this record because there is a lot of really glorious little lyrical gems. On ‘Puppy Dogs and Rainbows,’ Kom croons: “a million nouns and verbs have passed my lips with a sigh … and I still don’t know how to say goodbye”; and on ‘I Never’ he languishes in self-awareness: “call me morbid but my sense of regret is as clichéd and permanent as a barbed-wire armband tattoo.” The highlight of the album, ‘Brick Wall’ comes at about the half-way mark and is full of deliciously fatalistic lyrics like: “A brick wall hurts the head / a dead horse is always just lying there dead / you won’t get your true love back in the bed for all your pining.” ‘Brick Wall’ is also a rare treat where Barlow’s crisp winter’s day voice shines through Kom’s melodic gruffness.
The truest test for Spring Breakup will not be this, their debut, but what happens to them from this point on. Another round of cutesy breakup songs may not go down with a spoonful of sugar so here’s hoping for an evolution to both Spring Breakup and spring breakups – just so there’s more pain to write about!
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