steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Lil' Hospital

"I Wanna Be Well" CDR

Best Friends Records

Genres: twee, indie pop, lo-fi

Best Friends
PO Box 48214
Denver CO 80204

Oct 11 - 17 2004

You can't not like a band like The Lil' Hospital.  Their music is so fun, innocent, and earnestly catchy that you cannot be bothered to despise them.  Principal songwriter and performer Kevin is the perfect suspect to be writing simple, guitar-and-vocal-led tunes that fall under the twee/lo-fi banner.  If you like HHBTM, Popgun (whose "owner", Raoul, contributes trumpet to this disc), and Bumblebear releases, you'll feel right at home listening to I Wanna Be Well.

The best part of this Best Friends release is that it simply revels in its own positive optimism.  It is as good as any twee record, filled with brief, unassuming pop songs heavy on hooks and short on elaboration.  "Kampus & Katy" is about as complex as things get on I Wanna Be Well; trumpets are added to a twinkly, home-brewed guitar pop tune (think Elf Power or Of Montreal, but with lower production values), and the results are predictably excellent.  The song is very lo-fi (gotta love the drum machine), but that's part of the charm.  All of the disc's tracks follow the same general formula (give or take occasional bells or tambourines), but their brevity keeps things from becoming bland or obnoxious.  Album highlights include nerd-pop nugget "Muscle," bedroom rocker "Oh My Days," and the utterly infectious "Casios Know."

Chalk it up - Best Friends has scored another hit.  I Wanna Be Well may not be one of their most elaborate successes, but it's still an incredibly fun album.  At the very least, it's nice to know the lo-fi indie pop dynasty is in good hands.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]