Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., June 9, 2006
Hot Love (Bedlam)
Let summer begin. Let the sweat drip from your face, the Popsicles melt in your hands, and the grass grow brown and brittle. Buttercup's sophomore LP, Hot Love, is the mood swing of a Central Texas heat wave: patient, longing, bouncy. The San Antonio quartet is more art than pop as heard on debut Sick Yellow Flower but this is a tighter, brighter effort. Singer Erik Sanden's opening Elliott Smith homage, "Hello, Goodbye," is sad yet hopeful, but guitarist Joe Reyes' "You and You Alone" is the strength of Buttercup. Its soft and lovely Beatles-like vocals swim under the current of melodic strength. Combining the titular track with "Cool Kids" pulls the Buttercup rock card, but the blended edges of "Egypt" paint a more delicate picture. Buttercup has become a puddle-jumper, leaping from pop to rock to Caribbean, but the irresistibly catchy "Johnny Appleseed" proves that everything comes home everyone loves an oh-ah chorus. While closer "Unlevel" is exactly that, it exemplifies Buttercup's harmonizing abilities and musical strength. This is a band that grows more inventive by the week, and if Hot Love is any indication, it's gonna be a great summer.