The Unlovables - Heartsickle (Cover Artwork)

The Unlovables

Heartsickle (2007)

Whoa Oh

For those unfamiliar with the band, the Unlovables are New York City's happiest, poppiest female-fronted pop-punk/buzz-pop band. This is the second full-length from the four-piece group. I should probably mention that I'm somewhat biased, since the band's first release, Crush Boyfriend Heartbreak, is possibly my favourite pop-punk album of all time. That said, this album is also quite excellent.

While Crush took a page from Screeching Weasel in being pure fun, Heartsickle adds quite a bit of substance. As is frequently the case with a band's sophomore album, though, while it adds more advanced melodies and general depth, it's not quite as catchy as their debut. Even so, the change is somewhat welcome -- an attempt to create a song as catchy as "Feelin' All Emo (Since I Broke Up with You)" would be pretty much doomed to failure.

The album starts out on an unsurprisingly peppy note with "Leave Me Alone," an example of the band's trademark, tongue-and-cheek treatment of breakups through nearly-giddy, sugary-sweet songs. One of the great things about the Unlovables is that they can be listened to either seriously or ironically. All of their songs' lyrics are both cute and sometimes painfully accurate descriptions of the familiar subject of relationships, but at the same time sung in a silly, light-hearted way that allows you to laugh at the whole subject, if you're not in a particularly romantic mood. Songs like "Dance Party for 2 (Your Room, 3 A.M.)" can make you either "aww" or laugh, depending on what you're feeling at the moment.

The catchiest song on the album is probably "Samantha," the song you are greeted with whether you like it or not upon hitting up their homepage or MySpace page. Like most of their songs it's basically just an excuse to smile and have fun for a few minutes.

The album does fall into the cliché second-to-last-song-acoustic-number, but fortunately Hallie's vocals are more than enough to keep even the acoustic song interesting. The album ends with "Crazy Tonight," which features some form of high-pitched sleigh bell throughout the entire song, making you feel like you are going crazy right along with the band. I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or not.

This has gotten much longer than is warranted for a light, fun record. Just drop the $10 and pick it up -- even if it's not the best album of the year, it's guaranteed to make you smile for 40 minutes.