Watch this first.
A lot of people’s childhoods can be summed up during that one-minute intro. Memories of past times, good and bad. The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993-1996) was a show that made it OK to be who you are. It reflected creativity and imagination. What seemed to register most though was the music. The show’s creators commissioned notable indie bands like the Magnetic Fields and the Apples in Stereo to supply a soundtrack; but it was three-quarters of the band Miracle Legion, going under the name Polaris, that really stood out amongst the collected groups. Led by talented singer/songwriter Mark Mulcahy, Polaris fine-tuned many simple songs that still remain charming and reflective of suburban life. Music from the Adventure of Pete & Pete was the band's only album.
Intro song “Hey Sandy” is the one most familiar; often covered by artists who probably grew up with the series. Besides the nice singing, with its vocal yelps of “Ah ya yah ya / Hey Sandy / Ah ya yah ya / Hey Sandy,” it’s the guitars that remain the catchiest. Right after the middle section, Mulcahy comes back with these jangly plucks that just ooze with emotion. How can music notes make such an impact on one’s feelings?
Thankfully each track is unique in its quirkiness. There’s a nice looseness to them all, and past sounds from '90s indie rock come about in which the music seems so simple that it makes you want to play some yourself. For example, “She is Staggering.” Another gem that reads like a conversation between two people; (one being witness to a failed attempt, and the other a victim of shyness) is not too vague and not too impersonal; gracefully playing along in its own simplicity.
Other tracks like “Waiting for October,” with its longing desire; “Summerbaby” and its simplicity; “Coronado II” playing like a lost Beat Happening song; and of course, being the saddest and most personal, “Ashamed of The Story I Told,” highlight the soundtrack as if they were street lamps guiding you home. And that’s what this music feels like; home.
Certain things can pinpoint to clarity; perhaps music being the best. We each have some subconscious memory of hearing certain things, and when they appear again, a wealth of instantaneous feeling and emotion soars. You nod and acknowledge; “Yeah, I remember that. It sucked/rocked back then…”