With fourteen songs totalling just over half an hour of listening time, The Sylvia Platters – of Langley, BC – have engineered a debut whose title, Make Glad the Day, is guaranteed to live up to the promise on the tin. The self-proclaimed power-poppers “with short attention spans” blend deadpan vocals with lovelorn lyrics and bright, jangling guitars, creating a relentlessly positive vibe.
The album incorporates sonic influences ranging from the awkward tenderness of Belle and Sebastian (on “The Girl With the Curious Hair”, for instance, could easily be a title torn from Stuart Murdoch’s very own notebook), to the chiming aesthetics of the Smiths’ more upbeat numbers, to the gain-cranked, unabashed garage pop of early Weezer or Sloan records (“Top of My Heart”, “Note to Self.”)
There are unexpectedly grin-inducing moments peeking out from all around the various corners of Make Glad the Day, such as the va-vooming saxophone that punctuates “Reelin’ In the Years,” or the brilliantly punchy chorus guitars on “Boeselagerstrasse.” These keep the album from feeling as though it treads too closely to any one set of historical influences, showcasing the band’s anxious-yet-exhilarated personality. Make Glad the Day stays refreshing and fun across the breadth of its swiftly accelerating track list, digging catchy hooks deep into the listener while displaying a distinctly geeky, literarily inclined wit.
The album’s production is a far cry from the DIY cassette-tape-ready style you might expect from a bunch of retro pop revivalists in the twenty-teens: rather, it pops with a coat of gleaming polish (applied here by Vancouver’s CPS Mastering.) Compare the dreamy, hazy heat of a record like Alvvays’ self-titled debut, which fits its bittersweet, nostalgic vibe to a tee, to the bite and edge of Make Glad The Day’s bright, brash and focused mix. The latter style serves perfectly as a conduit for the Langley band’s urgent energies.
An album like Make Glad the Day is the perfect antidote to a grim November night, the kind of record that saves you from the realization that the sun will be gone by 4PM. To borrow a phrase from Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen, it’s a tragicomic mini-epic with a Sylvia P-laugh track.
Top Tracks: Note To Self, Reelin In The Years, The Girl With the Curious Hair
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)