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Office Space

courtesy of Office

Drawing frequent comparisons to quintessential ’80s new wave group the Cars, Chicago-based quintet Office may seem to have some pretty large shoulder pads to fill. Despite the infectious pop hooks, zany synths and sing-along choruses, Office doesn’t have as much in common with Ric Ocasek and co. as many reviewers may have suggested. Instead of being a mindless, pure pop confection, their fifth album A Night at the Ritz is as accessible and fun as it is filled with depth and insight. These Chi-town pop-rockers craft glistening tunes that chronicle the mundane and banal humdrum of our everyday existence but with witty and sometimes wistful observations. Songwriter and frontman Scott Masson manages to inject a fresh exuberance into recycled topics with sparkling keyboards, lush harmonies and astute introspection. On the pensive “+/- Fairytale,” moody guitar dissonance helps to convey the anti-storybook quality of relationships as Masson profoundly quips, “I’m carving up pumpkins/in your resemblance/with a dull knife/leaving dull edges,” about the lackluster and sometimes acrimonious state of a partnership. The fervent opener “Oh My” is an instant mood-lifter with chiming keys and chipper tambourine taps while the album’s dark horse track “Ritz” recalls the sexier side of Office’s pleasing pop with jarring guitars, falsetto and descriptions of seedy trysts, nymphos and drag queens.

Experience the magic when Office plays Popscene on Thursday, December 13.