Me And Amy And The Two French Boys
By: Eric G.
From Bubblegum To Sky is the kitschy moniker for Mario Hernandez, formerly of the pop duo Ciao Bella, and his first solo album is a kaleidoscopic blend of Beatles, Glam, New Wave, and Japanese pop. The first track, “Hello Hello Hi”, encapsulates all of his influences in a sugarcoated pop gem that validates the invention of the ‘repeat’ button on CD players. The song is an instant classic complete with robotic female background vocals, Cars-ish guitar licks, and laid back T-Rex vocal stylings. As soon as you hear it, you will undoubtedly succumb to its charms.
The rest of Me And Amy And The Two French Boys is not as immediately engrossing as “Hello Hello Hi” but still yields many surprises (it just takes a few more listens for the goods to sink in completely). “Shaboom They Said” is a blatant John Lennon homage circa Magical Mystery Tour, but Hernandez updates the sound with layers of synthesizers. Hernandez has a strangely endearing voice- sort of cross between Mac McCaughan from Superchunk and Sean Lennon. His voice sounds particularly soporific double tracked, which is often the case, and it blends well with his pitch-bended melodies.
“You Of Summer” combines upbeat horns and xylophones with Hernandez’s catchy vocal hooks in a swarm of synthesizers and sleigh bells. “Ask The Space Invader” recalls Built To Spill in its staccato chorus of indie rock guitars, booming snare, and weirdly nasal vocals. “Major J” is the only aggressive rocker on the album, and somehow Hernandez gets away with using ‘woo-woo’s’ in the chorus. “I Wanna Be An American Boy” screams early-eighties, but From Bubblegum To Sky never sounds retro; Hernandez always manages to inject something modern into the mix to avoid simply regurgitating New Wave nostalgia.
Me And Amy And The Two French Boys is a diverse and unabashedly ‘pop’ album. The title track even incorporates background ‘do wop do wop’s’ without sounding absurd. “My Thousand Years With Robots” sounds like two songs playing simultaneously yet remains as catchy as any other song on the record (with the exception of “Hello Hello Hi”, of course). On “Beat To Beat” Hernandez toys with sampling and lazy drum loops for the one song that even hints at the fact that hip-hop has been an influence over the past two decades.
If the band’s name weren’t clue enough, Me And Amy And The Two French Boys is not the type of music that purports to change the world, but what it lacks in substance it more than makes up for in style and execution.