On A Night at the Ritz, Office splurges on sordid lifestyles and the office theme with tracks mostly from their self-released 2005 album, Q&A. With old tracks remastered and even older tracks swapped in, this album exchanges a little of the eccentricity for radio-readiness, but remains strong from start to finish. With both the rigidity and recklessness of an office party, A Night at the Ritz blasts, swerves, and sneaks through modern pop tracks with true professionalism.
Thirteen songs long with more meat than the usual pop album, A Night at the Ritz is where the indie and corporate music worlds collide. Kicking off with the jingle bell stomp "Oh My" and head-bobbing "If You Don't Know By Now", its tone is set in a fun, but cynical, atmosphere. "The Ritz" kinks it up a bit with a saucy take on a hotel scene that includes a clap-a-long, harmonic chorus. "Company Calls", one of two tracks from 2002's The Ice Tea Boys and the Lemonade Girls, is a slick jam that skates along a subdued guitar that heavily flirts with the airwaves. "The Big Bang Jump!" attempts to start a non-dance-craze, and actually almost works (or doesn't).
The second half of the album is a little more diverse with, once again, most of the tracks remastered from Q&A. "Plus Minus Fairytale" is a fuzzy grind while "Paralyzed Prince" is a perfect foot-kicker for sitting on top of the copier at the office late into a holiday party. "Had A Visit" is a slightly maniacal ode to office kinkiness. "Q&A" has the album's only real chill-out moment with a couple minutes of smooth fadeout. "Dominoes" will easily help you remember the days of the week in case you ever forget. "Possibilities" has a chugging vibe that's no less than magnetic, and "Suburban Perfume" softly recounts life through a suburbanite's eyes with references to grunge flannel and Capri Suns.
As far as pop albums go, A Night at the Ritz is a big pill to swallow. It's borderline mainstream, but too clever for that scene. Listening to it, you can indulge your guilty pop pleasures and lose no cred at the same time.