Déjà vu 

It’s way too easy to slap a label on a band these days. Take for example every independent release from a female-fronted band that has a couple of melodic hooks: the knee-jerk reaction of “girl-pop” is automatically tossed out as a quick and easy review. Although this generalization has been more of a frequent cliché — that I have also been guilty of throwing around — it’s also unfair for Fonda, a band that would rather be known for its pop craftsmanship than as another run-of-the-mill girl indie band.

With that said, The Strange and Familiar is a moody collection of British-hinted pop ballads that swing from dreamy guitar to synthesizer flow (“The Sun Keeps Shining on Me” and “The Lessons To Unlearn”) to an uppity punch of innocent love songs (“Close To Home” and “When You’re So Young”). Following in the same vein as Fonda’s fantastic — and very overlooked — debut album The Invisible Girl, influences such as Heavenly and Lush are still apparent.

Even if The Strange and Familiar contains a sound that’s been heard before, it’s still difficult to not bounce along to the giddy love songs. More importantly, this quartet is way beyond the generic classification of being thrown into the standard “girl-pop” category.

E-mail Mike DaRonco at [email protected].

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