The great thing about taking ideas from pop masters like the Beach Boys and the Beatles is that it's always going to be good. Well, so long as you have competent musicians behind those borrowed ideas. Saturday Looks Good to Memay sound awfully familiar, what with its reverb-laden, AM radio-friendly sound and walls of strings and horns. But lest you think it is just another musical love letter to Brian Wilson, listen up. Fred Thomas, the musical mastermind behind SLGTM, has orchestrated a gorgeous, sweet summer day's worth of tunes on the band's latest album, aptly titled All Your Summer Songs.
"The band began as a sort of accidental four-track recording project," Thomas explains via cell phone on his way to Portland, Maine.
The Ann Arbor-based collective, whose members round out at about 28 on the latest album, recalls the perfect pop craftsmanship of its Detroit neighbors, Motown, and that's no accident. "From the time you're able to speak, not just in Michigan but anywhere, you know all the words to Motown songs," Thomas says. "They are just too fascinating for words. They have so many perfect parts. I mean, 'I Want You Back' by the Jackson 5 is an excellent example. If anyone doesn't like that song, I want to fight them."
But Thomas is a lover, not a fighter. Songs like the infectious "Meet Me by the Water" and "The Sun Doesn't Want to Shine" from Summer Songs could be the soundtrack for the summer of 1965, holding hands with your sweetheart while walking to the store for a soda pop. A recent interview described SLGTM as "punk rock Motown," a description Thomas says fits. "It's a super adequate description of what we do," he says. "Especially since, for financial reasons, we're going to be touring as a three-piece this time. It's going to be bombastic and loud, like if the Jam only did Motown covers."