Spoon and the Forkestra – Mary Lou
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Similar artists: Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, Dodie, Bright Eyes, Big Thief
For the majority of us, pop music and comedy movies are the only way in which we can access instant elation. Now, it’s easy to be cynical about the kind of art that makes a lot of people happy. However, it’s hard as well not to be on the side of the kind of light works of art that make people feel like they can achieve anything.
Throughout pop culture, we’ve only had a few songs that seem to manage this. Africa by Toto re-became a phenomenon first as a meme, and, then, because it genuinely made millions feel good. We are the champions still echoes at the end of, practically, every sporting event. Walking on sunshine will soundtrack advertisements looking to sprinkle some positivity for the rest of time.
Spoon and the Forkestra might be onto something similar. The duo sell their single Mary Lou on the strength of pure, unabashed charisma and good cheer. It’s not manipulative fun either, just a well-crafted tune with an undeniable hook.
Pat Berlinquette – Babe in the Woods (ft. John Sebastian)
Genre: Retro Soul, Blues, Americana
Singers are drawn towards soul music like moths to a flame. Give them enough time, and a big enough record collection and, almost certainly, they will start feeling the lure of soul. Naturally, it’s also true that while many attempt their version, it’s not for anyone.
Singing soul convincingly is like trying out for an NFL team. Certainly, a lot of people like the sport and even play it in their spare time. However, only a handful have the required skill to get in front of a crowd and do it well enough to demand some form of compensation.
Pat Berlinquette does it well enough. His voice sounds like Richard Ashcroft of the Verve covering Otis Redding. Babe in the Woods, a song featuring the harmonica playing of John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful, plays like a gentle spiritual, a song to help steady listeners and put them back on track.