Boston’s underground scene spawned some excellent, adventurous bands, but ‘Til Tuesday was not one of them. “Voices Carry,” the quartet’s mega-hit, is a catchy (if lyrically clumsy) song that utilizes the full extent of ex-Young Snakes singer/bassist Aimee Mann’s limited vocal capabilities; the rest of the band’s Mike Thorne-produced debut album is surprisingly unstylish, bland and unengaging.
Armed with a Chrissie Hynde-like warble and another clutch of slow-going sensitive torch-rockers, Mann and her three bandmates issued a soundalike follow-up, produced by Rhett Davies. Although the dynamically mixed sound is technically flawless, the playing is dull and there aren’t many melodies you’re likely to remember. (The soaring “On Sunday” comes close.) Mann’s uncertain singing and the earnest collegiate pretentiousness of her lyrics make it hard to imagine just what kind of a home would welcome ‘Til Tuesday.
The fascinating results of life intruding on art, Everything’s Different Now considers a sad affair from two separate angles: during and after. The Jules Shear-penned title track expresses his joy at falling in love with Mann; “(Believed You Were) Lucky” puts her thoughts on their parting to his music. Romantic disappointment and loss dominate the album, through such heartfelt songs as “‘J’ for Jules,” “How Can You Give Up?” and “The Other End (of the Telescope),” the last written and sung with Elvis Costello. The music (again produced by Davies) takes a polite back seat, supporting Mann’s controlled and sincere vocals without attracting attention.