“Love at the Bottom of the Sea” is a collection of 15 two-minute-and-change snippets that never quite develop into full songs. Now and again, the album shows glimpse of the effortless whimsicality that has characterized the band’s career.
Part beer-and-barbecue Americana and part musical achievement, the album straddles the line between simplicity and complexity, and builds surprisingly nuanced songs out of relatively standard components. What emerges is a rare breed of album both catchy and awe inspiring that layman and connoisseur alike can appreciate.
But the humorous surface of “Educating Rita” hides thematic depth: under the skillful direction of Maria Aitken, this seemingly simple comedy hammers home serious messages about change, courage, the dangers of conformity, and the value of an education.