Mean Lady, "Love Now"
Mean Lady, "Love Now" (courtesy)
These isn't anything about Mean Lady that isn't adorable. There's the childlike band name, the sweet album title Love Now and the fact that Katie Dill embroidered the album art.

Below the surface niceties, there's a whole lot more to feel warm and fuzzy about. Love Now is a very pretty collection of pop rock. Ukulele pokes through occasionally, as do steel drum sounds and wavering, tinny synths. The instrumentation is pretty eclectic and it helps set Mean Lady apart from other bands making pop rock candy.

It's borderline saccharine. Dill's voice lilts over acoustic guitar melodies, bouncy keys and clapping drum effects.  "I'm happy / I'm sappy / Head in the clouds all the time like it's my birthday every day" Dill sings on "Why'd'ya Haftabee Sucha?" and sounding a bit like Zooey Deschanel. Her voice has that pretty but unpolished and just slightly imperfect quality. (For whatever it's worth, the liner notes make a point of saying that no autotune was used.)

And those song titles -- "Daisies," "One Big Family," "Bop Bop," "I Will Mary You" -- it's all almost too much. Yet the old-timey piano vamp and clapping on "Lonely" are irresistible. Dill, Sam Nobles and Brian Bruce might have reached a little too far on "Pony Ony O" -- a song that lasts more than nine minutes and spends most of that time wandering aimlessly. Their songs work best when they have some clear melodic structure and solid beat.

The kind of sugary pop Mean Lady serves up on Love Now isn't for everyone's taste, but anyone with a musical sweet tooth will love it.