With instrumentation focused on violin and ukulele you might expect San Francisco Bay are duo The Sweet Trade to be purveyors of country, or traditional folk, or some other flavor of roots music.
You'd be wrong.
What the listener can find on their CD "Pistols & Parasols" is a jaunty collection of pop music. Yes it's pop music created from vocals, violin and ukulele (with banjo, mandolin, piano, bass and percussion thrown in every once in awhile), but it is still catchy, hell INFECTIOUS, pop music. And it's is pretty damned swell.
"My Best", with its nice hooky vocal refrain, leads the pack as the album's leading candidate for single. "Easy" is a similar helping of charming fun pop.
But I find myself drawn the introspective/retrospective "That Old Town". Sure this tune has as a tinge of melancholia, and is built on nostalgia for a small town and old friends walked away from but it is strangely evocative of the mighty Modest Mouse in its clever pop brilliance. "Gone" moves further down the dark path, but even it can't help put pick up in the last third of the tune. It's as if the band can't hide their ebullient hearts. "Julie", with its refrain of "Julie is a blood sucker", could be dark but is way too upbeat and bouncy, like a song by Harley Poe if you could, somehow, remove the punk. It always brings a smile to my face.
The clockwork pop of The Sweet Trade is too minimalist its instrumentation to fall under the umbrella of chamber pop (though there are times when you can hear commonalities with Piñataland and pre-Hazards of Love Decemberists). But this minimalism works for me, sometimes simple is good. Here it is damned good.