In the closing of his fascinating book-long examination on Celine Dion for the Continuum series, deconstructionist critic Carl Wilson mentions how certain types of music are perfectly suited to accompany certain types of life activities. If you're cleaning your house, making dinner, mowing the lawn, there are certain bands and songs that suit these times perfectly. Wilson also theorizes that bands known as "critical darlings" may have attained their title simply due to the fact that their music is good to listen to when you're sitting at a computer writing about music. To this end and with virtually no scientific basis, the pop rock of Titles is well suited to accompany anyone playing Wii Sports Baseball.
Successful pop music requires a feeling of effortlessness, a sensation the band possesses, but also something grabbing your attention. Titles are comfortable musicians, accomplished songwriters, and they don't write bad tunes. But there aren't enough great songs on Up With The Sun to merit a letter home. Things start off with a bounce as "A Happy Life" bops along like a breeze, but then things sort of sit there. "Coal Mine" and "Bloody Nose" offer a moody one-two slap, and "Fully Dressed In Bed" offers a welcomed kind of sexy-trippy vibe, but these highlights feel too few and far between to sustain a full album. Then again, this might be a failing of my own; perhaps Titles just don't write music to accompany writers writing about music. If there was a way to write with a Wii Remote (aka "Wii-mote"), believe me, I would be doing it and Titles might rule the world.
My recommendation: check out their MySpace page. Listen to their samples from this album, particularly "No Love," and if you like that, then you'll want more. Otherwise, be content with "A Happy Life" and wait for their next release.