Sixpence None the Richer
Twenty years ago, the almost entirely unknown (then) and barely remembered (now) Texas-Tennessee band, Sixpence None the Richer, released its second album, a pop masterpiece, This Beautiful Mess. The cover, a picassoesque homage with eye-popping reds and yellows, captivates today as much as it did two decades ago. Imagine a southern American version of The Sundays crossed with Nebraskan, Matthew Sweet, and a little bit of the poppiest aspects of XTC, and you’ll start to get a sense of this album. The best tracks, by far, are the least poppy songs: “Within a Room Somewhere” and “Disconnect.” Each is existential and necessarily plodding. Each gorgeously develops organically with hardly a pop hook in audible range—at least relatively speaking.