John Hughes really needs to come out of hiding, because Volcano, I'm Still Excited!! has orchestrated a debut album that has all the basic ingredients for a Hughesian soundtrack: unrequited love, heartbreak, desperation, and sweetly raging hormones. The New York-based band's penchant for catchy, pretty pop songs reinforces this theory, and the bass-less setup (just organ, guitar, and drums) leaves more room for singer Mark Duplass' urgent, lovesick vocals to seduce you and then ignore you at the high school dance. Everyone knows the most memorable '80s love songs are the ones that get your toes tapping and have a silly "woo-hoo" or two thrown in.
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The cinematic theme of the album develops through a series of 16 sweet songs. "New Brad" takes care of the desperation, with Duplass cooing "I'm breaking inside/Your window wasn't open like you promised," followed by the lament "I've turned into that guy." "2nd Gun" takes care of the heartbreak aspect with a rallying call ("I miss you, Kate, all around") and "Around the Dream" exposes the unrequited love: "Waiting in a car, strapped to the chair... I'll follow you around the dream." The final song, "Two Exclamation Points," is probably one of the most cathartic closing songs in recent memory, kicking out the three-part harmonies and ensuring the listener that all is not lost, the guy gets the girl, and happy endings always prevail. At least in the movies. On second thought, John Hughes should stay in retirement; otherwise, the Thompson Twins might start looking for work. Regardless, VISE!! has managed to make an album of luuurv songs that are as danceable, goofy, and infectious as anything that ever came out of Shermer, Illinois.