Smallpools
Lovetap!


3.0
good

Review

by Green Baron USER (159 Reviews)
March 22nd, 2015 | 12 replies


Release Date: 03/24/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An EPs worth of good material spread out over a full-length disc.

Normally, bands tend to capitalize on their momentum as fast as they can. Smallpools’ lead single, “Dreaming”, was released on May 16, 2013. Their debut album, LOVETAP!, hit the shelves on March 24, 2015. The difference between the two dates is nearly two years – twenty-two months, to be more specific. Such a large gap would have been more excusable if “Dreaming” was still widely remembered today, but it barely had any longevity and wasn’t even close to being one of the bigger indie pop songs of the last few years. The only releases in between included a quick four-track EP and a one-off buzz single, hardly enough to keep the buzz going. However, buzz has no effect on quality, and Smallpools delivered exactly as expected on their debut.

The problem with their previous releases was that at times they could be catchy and enjoyable, but at other points they were too plain and couldn’t put their energy to good use. Their music is often bright and bubbly, which adds a bit of a life but also gets repetitive towards the end. Smallpools’ greatest strength is their ability to write simple, catchy hooks, evidenced on not only “Dreaming”, but also second single “Karaoke” and the title track. The former’s chorus of “take me out and we’ll karaoke, tonight we’ll feel famous, won’t we"” is complemented by great verses, slick production and nice use of guitar, and quickly establishes itself as a highlight. “Dyin’ to Live” relishes in its infectiousness, with Mark Foster-esque vocals and excellent keyboard parts. Cheery melodies buoy LOVETAP!, and they give the album a breezy, feel-good vibe that is often found in most indie pop records. It’s a fun listen, albeit nothing special.

Additionally, LOVETAP! suffers from a lack of engaging new material. The album’s best songs have already been out prior to the album’s release, whether it’s the two-year old “Dreaming” or the four-month old “Karaoke”. There are only two new songs within the first eight tracks, and that’s easily the record’s best stretch. Faltering quite a bit towards the end, “What’s That a Picture Of"”, “Admission to Your Party” and “9 to 5” offer nothing of quality and just take up space until the mostly-instrumental closing track, “(Submarine)”. The lush atmosphere and production gives it an ethereal mood that builds for three minutes before suddenly fading. It’s an ambitious end to a band who pride themselves on writing quick, easy indie pop songs, even if it may not forecast much for the future.

Before the release of LOVETAP!, Smallpools were just a run-of-the-mill indie pop band that could write a few catchy songs but didn’t seem like they’d be able to fill an album’s worth of quality material. Now that the record is out, it is safe to say that there has been no change of opinion. Relying too much on previously recorded tracks, a lack of variation and a weak second half bump this down a few notches, although when it’s good, it’s pretty damn good. “Dreaming”, “Karaoke” and “Dyin’ to Live” among others shine with their fun attitudes, breezy vibe and infectious hooks. If only they had more consistency, an album of Smallpools might not be all that bad, but until then, sticking to individual songs may be the best option. LOVETAP! is essentially the deluxe edition of the Smallpools EP, repackaged with a bunch of bonus tracks that can easily be disregarded.



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user ratings (34)
Chart.
3.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Emeritus
March 22nd 2015


4417 Comments


should be an apostrophe in "EP's" but otherwise gd review. heard a song from one of these guys' earlier EPs and it was actually hella fun. pretty sure it was "Dreaming"

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Thought you might review this GB. Nice review. You probably hammer home the same point a couple of times too many, but I know it's sometimes difficult not to do with an album like this.



I gave 'Karaoke' a listen and thought it was pleasant, without being in any way exceptional. So I'll pass on giving the whole LP a listen if that's the 2nd best track here.

granitenotebook
March 22nd 2015


802 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

best tracks:

American Love

Street Fight

Over and Over

Dreaming

Lovetap

No Story Time

Karaoke



these tracks are all great, others are forgettable.



great review.



Passive Madman
April 6th 2015


9 Comments


No love for "Killer Whales?" I actually thought that was the best track on here.

ATTA
April 11th 2015


131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This finally came out! A bunch of songs from the EP, and some new ones. Why? They should've just added the new songs, for this album, and that is all. Overall it's not a bad pop rock album.

Kupasexy15
April 15th 2015


334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree with the fuzzy-covered, drum-banging Madam above. "Killer Whales" is much better than "Karaoke." "Street Fight" is catchy as hell. GB, you're right that this things loses momentum a little past half way.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Recalling Passion Pit & Walk the Moon, LA indie-pop act Smallpools deliver a sugar-rush on their belated debut LP 'Lovetap!'. Including all 4 tracks from their 2013 EP, the feel-good synth-laden melodies carry a heavy 80s influence that is rather derivative. While some of the hooks are toe-tappingly infectious over the album's 1st half, the hyperactive energy gets a little over-bearing as the album progresses through its 45 minutes worth. The lyrics are occasionally inane & attempts to instil variety are more miss than hit, but there is genuine mainstream potential apparent with Smallpools. Recommended Tracks: Dreaming, Mason Jar, Dyin' to Live & American Love.

dmp3131
June 16th 2015


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is about as bubble gum as it gets...dear lord.



That being said, I'm so far really digging this.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2015


24259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just saw these guys live...have to say that the first half of the album is incredible but once Lovetap! starts the album is extremely forgettable. American Love is such a good song honestly.

dmp3131
October 2nd 2015


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album would be much better without "What's That A Picture Of", "Admission To Your Party", and "9 to 5". Would be an easy 4 for me, but it runs too long right now.



Do love this album, though. How were they live? I was thinking about going later this month.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 3rd 2015


24259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They were great! High energy and a couple songs really translated well live like Mason Jar, American Love, and their cover of You Only Get What You Give. The singer is really good live like he can hit all of the high pitched notes really well and he seems to do so effortlessly which was impressive. But yeah I completely agree those songs need to be cut out, it runs way too long at 14 songs and they all start sounding the same after awhile. As much as I like the song Over and Over the main melody is literally the same melody in the line "oh God tell me we're dreaming". Still these guys are decent for the alt rock/indie scene and I'm glad I saw them live.

dmp3131
October 3rd 2015


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good to hear! I may just go see them, then. Definitely one of the funner bands to listen to and I imagine one of the funnest concerts.



If I were to choose another song to drop it would be Over and Over. It just drags a bit and doesn't help get over the hump in that album. But really. An album without the 4 songs mentioned, would be much better.



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