Saul Glennon -- Saul's a band, not a guy -- is a retro-pop group with a sound straight out of the mid-'60s. But the Slavic Village band has always been like the ugly pretty girl in so many '80s movies: an irresistible beauty hidden under a very slight layer of drab. With the new Refractory, the gang drops the Molly Ringwald bit and jumps right to the part where it emerges as the hot girl everyone suddenly wants to party with.
Disc opener "Refractory" is a deep echo of the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You," but it's a catchy one. And when frontman-guitarist Jack Rugan turns out shameless bubblegum like "It's you that I want to touch/It's you that I want so much," followed by a string of "uh-huh-huhs," he makes the non-lyrics sound like an inspired romantic eruption. Rugan's a real songwriter, though; the rest of the refreshingly low-fi songs are pure rave-ups that find the middle ground between the Beatles and the Archies, but they'll have you pogoing like it's 1977.