As their comically generic name suggests, the Los Angeles trio Music Go Music offers a mystery shrouded in the banalities of everyday life. Their press release spins a great yarn, explaining that since we last saw them in 2010, members Gala Bell, Torg, and Kamer Maza have been busy working on film, TV and theater projects since aborted (e.g., a German sitcom So Schmeckt Das Leben) or in early fundraising stages (their historical sci-fi musical Active Savage: Rise of Menergy). The facts are this: Meredith Metcalf, David Metcalf, and Adam Siegel have once more put their subdued postpunk unit Bodies of Water on hold to resume musical flights of Abba-esque fantasy on Music Go Music’s new album, Impressions.
This isn’t as simple a matter as it sounds, one reason being there are at least three different Abbas to nod to. There’s the iconic Abba that created the template for bubbly, bluesless nordic pop. There’s “Waterloo”-era Abba of Frida’s perm and Agnetha’s sequins, promising 70s glitter that quickly descended into junkshop kitsch. And then there’s the late-period Abba, circa The Visitors, that Music Go Music channels, in which studio maximalism accompanies mature expressions of disillusionment, estrangement and ache. Galloping disco rhythms, careful arrangements, over-the-top hooks, and a multitracked soprano that somehow sounds blonde all convey the dull void of adult life, if only through the prism of wish fulfillment: “Nite after nite it seems to be a dream/I never want to wake up anymore.”
Behind its shiny facade Impressions is serious stuff, far deeper than your usual disco revivalism. Music Go Music have an instinctive facility for 70s pop, an intriguing concept, and a promotional savvy for a media-saturated age. In short, they’re the whole package, and my fingers are crossed they’ll release more promotional videos from an imaginary public-access variety show like they did for their last album. For now, this album is eminently listenable across a variety of settings, from the utopia of the disco floor to the drop-off lane at your kid’s school, so get on it.
Impressions is out now on Thousand Tongues/Secretly Canadian.