The Successful Failures “Captains of Industry, Captains of War”
Chesterfield, NJ trio The Successful Failures have gotten better and better with each album, as former Dipsomaniacs leader Mick Chorba tightens the sound up on the bands’ fifth album. You’ve got a melodic mix of classic power pop that fans of The Replacements, Cheap Trick or Sloan should really flock to. And as a songwriter Micks come a long way too; his stories are deeper and more compelling.
Chorba’s hooks are strong on the the opener “Stagger Lee & Woodrow Wilson,” supported by band mates Ron Bechamps (bass) and Rob Martin (drums). Together the trio effortlessly make you love their sound and lyrical prowess on “Milwaukee” and the dramatic energy is right on for the gem “1954.” The jangling “Meal Parade” is the type of melody that recalls Robert Pollard and GBV. But its tough to single out a favorite. Every single track here shines, all with differing tempos and styles. “Falling Out” is a light piano-guitar combo, and the slower ballads work as well as the fast paced fuzz guitars. Even the alt-country “O Carolina” bounces along to a catchy beat and the best attitude song here is “Sunny In My Head” with great minor chord shifts. One of the best LPs this year, it would be a crime to ignore – and it makes my top ten nominated list.
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Joe Sullivan “Schlock Star”
Joe Sullivan (An American Underdog) delivers a sunny burst of bubblegum pop with the help of fellow band mate/producer Andy Reed. If Ron Dante (The Archies, Cuff Links) were reincarnated today, he might sound a lot like Sullivan with those crisp vocal harmonies. Joe mixes those early sixties influences into his modern guitar pop easily.
From the Beach Boys meets Ramones styled “Conspiracy Radio” to the Archies-like “Nurse Tracy” its a fun romp with multi-tracked harmonies and infectious guitar lines. “Okinawa Girl” is another gem that brings to mind Marc Bacino’s Pop Job. And Sullivan adds plenty of humor to tracks like “Rock Star Boyfriend” with an Ozzy Osborne interlude between the chorus, and the Star Wars nerd-love of “Victims of the Sarlaac.” This is one of those albums you can listen to on repeat mode, so yeah its highly recommended.