It would probably be pushing it to say that Michael Olivares is better known as the lead singer of San Francisco ramshackle poppers The Mantles. To be fair, The Mantles aren't exactly a household name either, but that's more of a testament to most people's poor taste than anything else. They should be a fixture in your record collection, as should Olivares' first solo LP for Fruits & Flowers. The album follows his previous single for the start-up label and lands on some of the same twinges of homespun pop but it also expands its scope into a much larger statement of new wave hat tips to Nikki Sudden's jangle comedowns, classic era Flying Nun cracked lens warbles and even a touch of sun-smeared folk that crinkles around the edges. Aiding Olivares in bringing this collection to fruition is Edmund Xavier of Horrid Red. The pair don't fill out a room but in their restraint, they find the nuance that makes Olivares' brand of honest, fluid pop feel familiar and fresh in equal measure. Plenty of other albums will come beating down your door in 2015 but Really? is the kind that lets you come to it, and you'd be well advised to seek it out.
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