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Named in honor of a line of furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames, the Chicago-based chamber-pop outfit the Aluminum Group was led by brothers John and Frank Navin, longtime staples of the Wicker Park music scene who first surfaced in 1983 as members of the hardcore band Women in Love. Always harboring a secret affecton for the music of the Carpenters and Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, the Navins eventually formed the Aluminum Group, stubbornly pursuing their brand of lushly orchestrated pop until the sound actually became newly fashionable during the mid-1990s. Three years after self-releasing the lackluster Wonder Boy in 1995, the band -- also featuring guitarist John Ridenour, keyboardist Liz Conant, bassist Eddie Carlson and drummer John Blaha -- issued their superb sophomore LP Plano on local indie Minty Fresh. The Jim O'Rourke-produced Pedals followed in 1999; Pelo was issued a year later.
The Aluminum Group is an American pop band from Chicago, Illinois centered around brothers John and Frank Navin. The band has released seven albums on the Minty Fresh, Hefty, Wishing Tree, and P-Vine labels.
The Navin brothers grew up in Detroit, moving to Chicago in 1979. In Chicago, they formed their first band in 1982, the hardcore punk band Women In Love. In 1985, they left the band, increasingly becoming interested in softer pop music. They formed a new performance art group together, Bleak House, and in 1989 started working together on what would evolve into The Aluminum Group. The band's name is taken from a line of furniture by Charles and Ray Eames. The early line-up of the band included Eddie Carlson (Poi Dog Pondering) on bass and Liz Conant on keyboards. The band took inspiration from British groups of the early 1980s such as Everything but the Girl, Marine Girls and The Monochrome Set, as well as The Carpenters and Claudine Longet.
The brothers self-released their debut album, Wonder Boy, in 1995, described by Allmusic writer Stewart Mason as "a soft pop gem". Their second album, Plano, was produced by Dave Trumfio, and in the view of Jason Ankeny "resonates with a timeless and heartbreaking beauty". The album featured guitarist John Ridenour and their former Women in Love bandmate, drummer John Blaha, as well as guest appearances from musicians including Sally Timms. The album was released by the Minty Fresh label, who would also release the band's next album. For the band's third album, Pedals, they worked with Jim O'Rourke, the album also featuring Timms and Sean O'Hagan, the band now signed to Hefty Records. In 2002, the brothers contributed to the album The Executioners Last Songs, in aid of Artists Against the Death Penalty and the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty. On fourth album Pelo they worked with producer John Herndon, and introduced more electronic elements to the band's sound.
The band's fifth album, Happyness (2002), was the first in a trilogy, and was described as "postmodernist pop music that sounds simultaneously cutting edge, retro, and utterly timeless". The second in the series, Morehappyness (2003), included contributions from members of Tortoise and The Sea & Cake. The trilogy was completed with Little Happyness (2008).
The band is the subject of Patrick McGuinn's documentary film The Pursuit of Happyness.
Musical style 
The band's music has been described as "indie pop", "bliss-pop"/"chamber pop", "lounge tunes with a new wave bent", and "space pop". with comparisons being made with Eric Matthews, Belle & Sebastian, Holiday, The Divine Comedy, The Magnetic Fields, and Stereolab. The Riverfront Times described the band's music as "a potent cocktail of atmospheric electronica, slinky soul and old-school easy-listening". SPIN, reviewing Pedals, identified elements of lounge music, bossa nova, and yé yé.
Both Navin brothers are gay, and this is reflected in the band's lyrical themes.