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HIDEAWAY • The Weepies

Sometimes it seems like only dark, heavy or twisted things are cool. But that's a crock. Heavy metal, for instance, is dark, heavy and twisted. Sometimes it seems like only singers who have raspy or smoky voices or sing like Tom Waits are cool. And that is really ridiculous. Tom Waits likely just invented that voice; his natural voice probably sounds like Paul Simon. And a generation of hobo wannabes is imitating his impression.

The Weepies' Hideaway is so bright and infectious, and addictive (like coffee, not speed) that you might be able to write it off as too G-rated if it wasn't so smart, so well written and performed. Every song grooves, the melodies are superb, the lyrics are catchy and still big, without an ounce of pretension.

They're married now, Deb Talan and Steve Tannen; their new child is Theo. Before their 2006 debut Say I Am You hit the airwaves and many major TV shows and was a download smash (#1 in eight countries on iTunes folk charts), they'd each had solo careers. But together they put a sound out that it is quintessential pop-folk (not the other way around) and this new record Hideaway will be surfacing into your homes thru the TV shortly; the songs are irresistible. We will surely be dropping by iTunes to pick up the debut, and hope to bring you an interview with the duo next month.

This is the easiest record to spin I've heard in a long time. Again and again. As a songwriter, I wonder, how do you do that? First of all, it's soft, but not obviously soft. It's not whispered really close to the mic like so many singers. It's sung, because it's all about the melodies, but not loudly. It's about the phrasing. It's heartfelt, but not sentimental or self-absorbed. It's smart, but it's not intellectual. And they recorded it at home! And their friends tracked parts at their various homes. We'll be talking about that in the interview.

Dinner's ready, but first I must start downloading the debut. Check out the clips on the Listen page; see if you don't have to have The Weepies, too. They're totally cool.
• Frank Goodman

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