CMJ New Music Report | 1997

The sunflower's showy beauty is so awesome that one might never look close enough to notice how intricate the plant's make-up really is - for instance, in every sunflower, the dark seeds in the middle spiral around in a precise, mathematical arrangement known as the Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5...). Similarly, the sprightly tunes of Papas Fritas evoke an immediate, instinctive "smile" response, so that it's easy to get caught up in the jaunty melodies and miss the subtle cerebral side to the band's music. On its sophomore full-length effort, this Massachusetts trio shows off its newly gained musical confidence with more orchestrated, calculated pop arrangements and more aggressive playing and singing by all three members (the last album was dominated by guitarist Tony Goddess, the only one proficient enough to play and sing simultaneously). After the band's eponymous debut, those quick to judge placed Papas Fritas immediately in the "cute" pop genre, but Helioself's orchestration points to what the band has been doing all along playing "classic" pop with a fresh, enthusiastic attitude, taking hints from masters such as Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys and Dave Clark Five. Bop to "Small Rooms," "Sing About Me" and "Captain Of The City."