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Music Review: Alligators – Piggy & Cups

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Green, sparkling, and snappy, Piggy & Cups from Washington State’s Alligators is a pop record completely lacking in pretense and ugliness.

These Alligators have earned their spot with enjoyable dream-like pop that will probably remind every hipster of a few different indie coffee-shop acts, but will still visibly and smartly pare their own character into the collective psyche. Influenced by The Beach Boys, Radiohead, and others, the Puget Sound quintet has created a charming and revitalizing sound all their own.

Dig deeper and you’ll find a cozy quality beneath the surface double-mocha-soy-whipped-topping-something. The lush shrubbery of their home state pours out over Piggy & Cups, kindly cooing through beautiful pop arrangements. This isn’t a send-up and it’s not a put-on; there’s something really pure about that.

A drop by the Alligators website reveals more, with pics of the band in front of swirling, dancing lights and little blurbs about moving practice facilities to Bellingham and so forth.

The song that keeps poking itself into my consciousness, even now, is “If You Want To.” Gentle acoustic introduces itself like a shy ninth-grader shuffling into a room. “I want to do anything with you, if you want to,” says vocalist Joshua Trembley. It’s a nervous proposal, probably delivered with both eyes glued to his shoelaces.

The crisp, poppy “Where Does It Hide?” rings out to open Piggy & Cups with harmonies sweet as syrup. But the song isn’t afraid to go where it must, with winding guitar pushing the boundaries and pressing hard. Pulses of synth toy with a slender disco mood while falsettos coil.

“Why aren’t you weeping at the sound?” comes the question Alligators have been meaning to ask for a long time on the haunting “Why Aren’t You Weeping? (All In Your World).”

Simple but not unsophisticated, merry but not goofy, Alligators have crafted a kind-hearted pop record based around the concept of remaining true to one’s sound and snug in one’s skin. No matter how crusty things might get, no matter how pushy the temptation might be to sink into unbearable platitudes, these guys refuse to compromise.

Piggy & Cups is a pleasant, satisfying souvenir of what happens when we put music in the right hands. These five Washington State reptiles have concocted an enchanting, sweet, brisk record. It is soothing, danceable, and outright enticing with its well-dressed desire to “do anything,” if only we want to.

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