Under Review

The Awkward Stage

Heaven is For Easy Girls (Mint)

Review By Jordie Sparkle

This album surprised me. Listening for the first time, it felt like that girl who snuck up and asked me out to prom, when I’d been all focused on that other more popular girl all school year. It was that sort of pleasant surprise that you aren’t really looking for but wouldn’t turn down. The hormone-driven nerves of male puberty travelling to an awkward early adulthood are perfectly encapsulated in the Awkward Stage’s debut album in a way that is at once shocking and incredibly cute.Their sound is not exactly unique, but they do it well. Coming across as a young, confused male version of the Stars (because if I personified the Stars it would be female — sorry to all those guys who are in the Stars), the Awkward Stage plays the soft beautiful melodies that remind me of 2003’s Heart, and sings of relationships with a voice of cynicism and longing.Another thing that makes this album come out of left field is the mere fact that there is so much talent here that has been essentially off the radar of Vancouver’s music scene. Shane Nelken, the band leader, has played with numerous local acts without seeming to have any creative input. Stepping out on his own to craft an album produced by New Pornographers’ drummer, Kurt Dahle, he has coined a sound that, while not totally original, has few similarities in the Vancouver scene. Not only is this album fresh, it is full of beautifully crafted pop melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Heaven is For Easy Girls is recommended listening for people who had awkward puberties, and those who think people who had awkward puberties are cute.