Clumsy Lovers

Emotional intelligibility

Well-scrubbed and enunciating clearly, the master entertainers in the Clumsy Lovers offer few concessions to the affected tastes of our time. Even the hook of authenticity, so fruitfully proffered by most bands with rootsy-folksy tendencies, is traded for Nashville-caliber professionalism by this Vancouver quintet. Armed with such uncool moves, the Clumsy Lovers could be regulars on The Lawrence Welk Show -- but as clean-cut as the music is, it's tough to resist.

Befitting the band's old-fashioned entertainment ethic, the Lovers' new album, Smart Kid, is full of novelties: from the Ozarks reggae of "Bobby Banjo," a song about -- you guessed it -- a kid who just can't put down his banjo, to the Monkees-style band theme, "Clumsy Love." But thankfully, there's more to the Clumsy Lovers than chops and cutesy come-ons -- "London Bridge" and "Better Days" are love songs as wistful as any John Hiatt has written in a decade. Both demonstrate that singer Trevor Rogers' best trick is his croon. Undeniably good, clean, and fun.

 
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