Tuesday, February 28, 2012

David Mead Dudes 2011 and Bill Lloyd Set To Pop 1994

Power pop. A retro sound I suppose, but it can be done fresh and shiny new. Take this new David Mead CD. Every song is melodic, with lyrics between fun and almost serious, big fat hooks in the chorus, snappy harmonies, and the perfect arrangement for that song. Rocking guitar break in on one, trumpet on another, crazed piano for yet another, and Mead's lovely vocals.

He writes them, he sings them, he plays guitar and piano. It's hard to believe he's the only songwriter, the songs are that varied. The ballads are beautiful, the rockers rock, the humor is funny. There's even a song called Bocce Ball, and I thinks that's what it's actually about. The fraternity of Dudes, the sweet despair of The Smile Of Rachel Ray, the Hall and Oates swing of No One Roxx This Town No More, I could just list them all, it really is that good. A summer-y disc to be sure, it might just be perfect for that road trip you'll be taking when things warm up and the days get longer.

Then there's the old school. Way back in 1994, Bill Lloyd nailed it. I would put these two in the same Power Pop genre, but very different records. Lloyd, after all, is a guitar player through and through, so he never sounds like he wrote one on piano. He hasn't got Mead's vocal chops, but he always sounds sincere. Songs with perfect hooks in the chorus, rockers with big guitars, skillfully crafted pop-rock with intelligent lyrics and a crack ace band with several big-name guests, including Al Kooper, Kim Richey, and Garry Tallent (Springteen's E Street Band), it 's an excellent recipe.

Highlights include I Went Electric (pulsing rock), Trampoline (great lyric), I Know What You're Thinkin' (driving mid-tempo ballad, a great chorus), The Man Who Knew Too Much (Tom Petty's version of The Byrds), A Beautiful Lie (the perfect relationship), Channeling The King (yes- it's about channeling Elvis, and it works), and the fine closer (I won't settle for) Anything Less Than Love, that sounds like a great lost Searchers song.

Tap your toes, get your Rubber Soul on, call it what you want to, but the legacy of the great Power Pop record lives on.

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