An amazing collaboration by a group of power pop superstars, the Pop4 brings together Andrea Perry, Scott McPherson (Liar’s Club), KC Bowman (Corner Laughers), and Kirk Adams (Vanilla). These artists clearly love the joys of 1970s pop and while the retro influences are present, it doesn’t feel like a gimmick because the music is well written and genuine. With 16 gems, this is a real treat.
Starting with “I Will Become Love,” a vocal choir followed by the pastoral “Beautiful,” led by Perry is very reminiscent of the late Karen Carpenter. “Blow Wind Blow” has a such groovy vibe I almost expected more cowbell here, and the sunny standout “Einstein and Sunshine” is clearly a nod to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” Perry’s angelic “Don’t You Be Like That” and “I’m So Jealous” are very much in the ballpark with KC Bowman’s alter-ego band The Agony Aunts. “Jaded” is a clear homage to Harry Nilsson, while “Julianne Irish” is done in a whimsical vaudevillian style like Andy Partridge. I could keep going but you get it already. Its another nominee for best LP of 2015, if not one of the most fun albums ever. Summer is almost over, so pick it up from the band’s website.
Wade Jackson “Whiskey Alpha Delta Echo”
Although heavily influenced by Americana and alt. country, Australian Wade Jackson’s first track “Dark Mirror” has more of a Byrdsian jangle and Californian mood. The modern “Valentine’s Day” has an echoing alt. pop style, but comparisons to Big Star really come out on “Catch My Eye”, “Coming Back” and “Carolina.” “Coming Back” is also very comparable to The Autumn Defense with a hypnotic chorus and solid harmonies. While the approach is consistent, it begins to get a little predictable after a while – however this is definitely an album that delivers quite a few favorites for my playlist.