"Big Sound" by The M's
The M's aggressively creative Future Women was one of the most criminally overlooked accomplishments of 2006, a ray of light illuminating the best elements of what has constituted pop music since the late '60s. That unabashed love and understanding of pop hasn't subsided since, and Real Close Ones continues as a wholly worthwhile contribution to the genre without attempting to develop it. But who cares? As The Apples In Stereo have shown, throwback-inspired psychedelic pop (when done right) is as applicable now as ever—and Real Close Ones both recalls pop of the past and feels absolutely current. The angular "Get Your Shit Together," "Days In The Sun," or "Impossible View" may cause mental wandering in the direction of old Beatles albums, but these ambling melodies and laid-back hooks are the band's own. And they mix in a little cool, fuzzy ambiance ("Papers"), a bit of throb and feedback ("Ultraviolent Men"), and some soul infusion ("How Could You") for a wonderfully spacious, energetic album that belongs right beside any of the others that may have influenced The M's.