CMJ New Music Magazine | 1995

If you've ever heard a somewhat endearing indie-pop song on your local college radio station and said to yourself, "Gee, this is plenty catchy and the band's not lacking in the energy department, but gosh, couldn't they just have recorded it a bit better, or relied a little less on the noise of their guitars, or just done something more?," then Papas Fritas is for you. This Boston trio (whose name means "French Fries" in Spanish) has an astounding feel for pop music's simplicity: It knows that a well-conceived hook goes a long way, that some clever harmonies placed around that hook make it go even further, and that if your playing is up to snuff, you'll pull off something fresh, exciting and unabashedly fun. Papas Fritas is led by an exceptional tunesmith, guitarist/vocalist Tony Goddess, whose exquisitely affecting melodies and buoyant hooks set the band apart from virtually all other outfits mining power-pop's dialectic these days. The arrangements on the band's debut are smart and unexpected, full of taut, bouncy rhythms and charming vocal harmonies, played on-key and with just enough restraint to keep them from turning into free-for-all pop anthems. What's not surprising about Papas Fritas is its likability: Goddess is, among other things, a devout Brian Wilson student, and the simple brilliance of his tunes proves it again and again.