Audio Mixer: Ed Ackerson.
You're Always on My Mind, the second full-length by bright-eyed Brooklyn indie group A Great Big Pile of Leaves, finds the band marrying jaunty, upbeat melodies to lyrics that are both clever in a cute way or cute in a clever way, depending on the song. Clean production and songwriting bring to mind the polished style of bands like Phoenix, the Shins, or even lesser-known tunesmiths like Sweden's Shout Out Louds, especially in the breathy harmonies and overdriven guitars of "Flying Fish." Listening closely to the lyrics reveals carefree and coy stories beneath the tightly wound summertime pop sheen. "Pet Mouse" turns rodent infestation and dirty dishes in an overpriced apartment into a metaphor for constant life changes, and other songs evoke the feeling of hopeful new romance while dropping references to pizza or slumber party sleepovers. The style never feels twee, but the core of tenderness fits better than expected with the band's guitar-driven, technically precise musicianship. ~ Fred Thomas