James Bernard
March 15, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

International Pop Overthrow

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

The Chicago-based trio Material Issue echoes a time when boys’ lives were simple. Back in the mythical ’50s, a boy only had to think about three things: winning a girl’s hand, keeping it, and then moping around after he lost it (though maybe he’d think about cars, too). Of course, such a problem-free time never really existed, but don’t tell that to Material Issue. Their big-label debut album, International Pop Overthrow, which follows three years’ worth of independent releases, is pure dance-inducing pop. Most of the bouncy, guitar-jangled songs revolve around youthful romance and unashamedly wear titles like ”Renee Remains the Same” and ”Li’l Christine.” In the first single, ”Valerie Loves Me,” a tale of unrequited love, lead singer and guitarist Jim Ellison pines away for an unattainable older girl and tries to convince us (and himself, too) that it’s a shame she’s not with him; he sings longingly that he’d give his whole life to her. Such sugary angst could seem just a little too sweet, but with a war just ended in the gulf and a recession just beginning at home, Material Issue’s carefree exuberance is a welcome relief.

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