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The Blow's Perfect Little Pop Marvel

The Blow locates the place where cute and sexy, sensitive and strong all converge.
The Blow locates the place where cute and sexy, sensitive and strong all converge.

The chorus to "Parentheses" opens with Khaela Maricich singing, "When you're holding me / we make a pair of parentheses," in a soft and wavering voice. It's the kind of voice that indie-pop singers often fall back on when they don't have the chops to go big, sacrificing sophistication for sweetness. And, yes, those lyrics are sweet — cute even. But "Parentheses" is a little marvel, and it does exactly what a perfect pop song should: It pairs an insistent chorus with a lyric that unfolds a little bit with every listen.

Like that spot in the Southwest where it's possible to stand in four states at once, "Parentheses" locates the place where cute and sexy, sensitive and strong all converge. Maricich isn't afraid to stretch her voice out or drop it to a low whisper in order to suit an unconventional melody, and the music tiptoes that same line. Bandmate Jona Bechtolt gives The Blow's beats enough stutter and pop to highlight the sensuality in Maricich's voice, but they're rugged enough to complement her brand of low-fidelity intimacy.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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