The fast-paced, playful pop songs from the Arizona-based band What Laura Says are utterly infectious, full of quirky vocals and banged out piano chords. Lyrically, the record walks a line between comedic sarcasm and poignancy. But What Laura Says takes the pop formula one step further, injecting thick, full band instrumentation and a slew of retro sounds, from psychedelia to folk and bluegrass. The result is a very catchy record that keeps things light without losing any sort of musical integrity.
Musically, the track "Fashionably Moral" shares more in common with traditional country-blues and gospel than contemporary pop. But it fits in snugly between the opener, "Couldn't Lose Myself If I Tried" and "Illustrated Manuals," tracks that come off like a tribute to Ben Folds.
"Wish I Could Fly" sounds like Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys joining in on a hippie drum circle jam, between the interesting vocal harmonies, eclectic instrumentation, and pots-and-pans style percussion. "Dot Dot Dot" is a pretty little folk ballad of soft finger-picked guitar that shares a lot in common with Simon and Garfunkel, but the band makes it its own. The guitar on "Get Better Soon" could easily be that of an old-timey square dance.
What Laura Says began as the acoustic duo of Danny Godbold and James Mulhern under the name What Laura Says Thinks and Feels. They have since shortened the name and expanded into a full, five-piece band. Thinks and Feels was originally self-released in 2007, and this 2008 release is a reworked and remastered version from Terpsikhore Records.