Personnel: Martin Nelte (vocals); Hanns-Christian Mahler (guitar, keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Zwen Keller (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Paul Engling (bass guitar); Burkhard Meldt (drums).
Recording information: Zentralstudio, Mainz, Germany.
Even though their history together dates back to the early '90s, Never Grow Up is just the third LP from German indie pop group Brideshead. Released in 2015 by American label Shelflife, the album features their bouncy, horn-laden 2014 single "The Mermaid" as well as all four tracks from their 2010 Comeback EP. The remaining nine songs are all brand-new and, despite this compilation approach, Brideshead's good-natured guitar pop sound has changed so little that it all still manages to hang together as a cohesive album. Their knack for sun-dappled melodies and easygoing jangle manifests itself on nearly every song here, from the wistful opener "The Class of 86" to the sprightly "At 45 RPM," both of which provide good examples of the album's surprisingly robust production value. All too often, this type of indie pop is handled with so light a touch that it feels as though a gentle wind could blow it away, but not so with Never Grow Up, which boasts plenty of rock muscle in its rhythm section and layers of pristine guitar work. Standout cut "At Melancholy Bay," with its punchy riffs, unique string section, and clever vocal interplay, offers some of the craftiest moments on an album already filled with hooks. A few songs like "Little Promise" and "Love & Happiness" feel a little too saccharine and featherlight, but even then, Brideshead come across as so amiable that it's hard to discredit them. After all, pleasant indie pop is their wheelhouse, and with Never Grow Up they've added another winner to their stable. ~ Timothy Monger