bouncy pop with sterling vocals

Marvin The Album (Mammoth)

By Kory Wilcoxson

If there's something that will catch my attention faster than the cry of "Fore!" on a golf course it is an irresistible melody paired with a unique female voice. Hello, Frente!

When I first heard "Labour of Love" on the radio, I was intrigued. Who was that woman, and why could I not turn the station?

She was -- and is -- Angie Hart, and she and her bandmates from Down Under breathe refreshing life into bouncy pop music.

Hart's voice cannot be pinned down: she's like Edie Brickell, but not as innocent, like Bjork but not as quirky. She's found a very comfortable patch of grass in between there from which to let loose.

Marvin is a non-stop romp through hook-laden alternative, edging toward ear candy without getting to sweet. "Ordinary Angels" gets a kick from Tim O'Connor's bass and Mark Picton's drumming and "Accidentally Kelly Street" almost brims over with contagious enthusiasm.

I would not stoop so low as to call Frente! a feel-good band, but it's hard to listen to Marvin the Album without coming away humming.