I can't stand it! This is just too much fun!
Yes, The Silly Pillows can indeed be silly. They also package their silliness in wonderfully evocative melodies shrouded in pure pop. Delivered by vocalists
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt and Belinda Miller, the songs on New Affections are quite strong, bold, and loaded with more charm than most. An ever-so-slight new wave feel penetrates a few of the numbers by way of keyboardist Charlie Zayleskie, the rhythm section is solid and make most every number a dance-fest, and the guitar work here is wonderfully melodic. In short, The Silly Pillows can be enjoyed on almost any level.
The obvious humour of tracks such as I Met Her At The Popfest, which
unfortunately has its ending guitar solo cut a little too short, and the awe-inspiring On Beyond Zagnut may run the risk of being viewed as mere novelty by way of their lyrics, but there's plenty of pop-sense at work here. On On Beyond Zagnut, the vocal parts really shine as the band, every member, pushes their playing in such a harmonious way. The melding of rhythm changes works perfectly here,
especially on the Beach Boys-like closing. As effective is the jazzy Three Soft Mays,
featuring some stellar piano and wonderful guitar accents as Caws-Elwitt and
Miller convince that they are meant to sing together. Very different in vocal style,
Caws-Elwitt favours a more innocent and simple delivery while Miller is the
source of the more adventurous dynamics here.
North Miami Beach, with its full arrangement and more exotic rhythm, is
another standout here. Miller's contribution here is more for effect, and the effect
works wonderfully behind Caws-Elwitt's delivery, with Sam Elwitt providing
some really lovely guitar accents. Bassist Michael E. Fiato's co-writing credits (with Caws-Elwitt) is the source of most of the "party" songs here, the most appealing being Scattered Bits. A straighter delivery is favoured here, and a catchy chorus makes it complete. The lounge-pop break, with Miller taking over for a few lines, works wonderfully here as well.
The Woman In The Iridescent Clothes continues in a more lounge-like vein, but
with Caws-Elwitt favouring a delivery that's evocative of Scott Miller. Zayleskie's
piano solo here is a real treat as well, with his playing at the fore for the entire
song. The fun to be had on Groovy Tune is almost immeasurable. A 60's-inspired
beat hits home here, and the different vocal parts would surely have made the
likes of The B-52's envious. Symptomatic of a few of the tracks here, though, is the
tendency for these songs to fade out rather abruptly. Some of the tracks are short as
well, so it really creates the impression that the band kept on playing long after
we've been "faded out". Come on Silly Pillows - we can listen to these tracks
through to their end no problem!
A delight from start to finish, New Affections showcases an incredibly talented
band, and I mean "band" in the true sense of the word. This six-piece meshes
incredibly well and consistently achieve the common goal of making each song as
full and complete as possible. A "new affection", indeed!