Sometimes you just need a sunny pop record to pull you out of a funk. As the winter blues truly set in, The SoftLightes are here to spread some joy to brighten things up a bit. Ron Fountenberry, the former frontman for the now defunct band The Incredible Moses Leroy, crafted this debut gem of an indie pop record. With new bandmates Kristian Dunn, Tim Fogerty and Jeff Hibshman at his side, Say No To Being Cool - Say Yes To Being Happy was born.
I guess the best way to describe the various sounds found on this band would fall under the "genre" of folktronic. Breezy acoustic guitars kick off the opening track, "The Ballad Of Theo & June," backed by gentle waves of synths and Founteneberry's light vocals. It falls somewhere between Postal Service and Sparklehorse, walking that fine line of quirky pop and folk.
The insanely catchy "Heart Made Of Sound" follows a similar formula, which leads us to the glitchy "Girl Kills Bear." Here the Postal Service comparisons totally come to a head, chock full of light bedroom beats and Ben Gibbard-like vocals. Just as you start to totally mellow out, The SoftLightes throw us a curveball with the rockin' "The Robots In My Bedroom Were Playing Arena Rock." Yeah, it is a damn brilliant title, and the song itself is quite excellent. Taking cues from Daft Punk's Discovery album, you'll find vocoder-treated vocals over stomping drums, bubbling keys and synthed-out handclaps. If this one doesn't put a smile on your face, then something is just wrong with you.
Fountenberry has plenty of other tricks up his sleeve, totally changing things up with the folky "A Town Named Blue." No drum machines or electro blips here, as this is simply a straightforward piano and guitar tune. More head-nodding jams include the infectious "The Microwave Song" and the chilled-out "If The World Had Cookies."
Although The SoftLightes do cross several musical styles over the course of the album, their pop sensibilities give Say No To Being Cool - Say Yes To Being Happy the feel of a complete body of work. An album this bright and sunny couldn't have come at a better time of the year to help us say no to the winter blahs.