Just one more week of reviews for 2015 – next week is our long-awaited year end “Best of” list!
Kansas City jangle pop junkies, Mike Penner, Scott Christensen, Bill Ryan and Peter Cook are Honeywagen. I mentioned them in my review of IPO #18, but I wanted to hear the full album Jamboree. Reminds me a bit of Midwestern roots band with Beatlesque flair, starting with “Angel” it has some barroom swing to go with those guitars. Plenty of Byrdsian jangle on “Another Hour,” although the vocals are a bit understated, there are lots of favorite influences here. “Five Point Oh” plays like an old Beach Boys car song and “Good Luck Tonight” is a little bit Big Star and Dwight Twilley combined. Recommended tracks include the high energy “Lose My Mind,” self loathing ballad “Loser,” and the Monkees-like “She Wants.” It was hard to find a bad song, which is a good sign of any highly recommended album. Check it out!
Hooton Tennis Club “Highest Point in Cliff Town”
An astute powerpopaholic reader alerted me to this gem. Hooten Tennis Club combines arty noise-pop and power pop into something like Pavement meets Teenage Fanclub. Band leader Ryan Murphy, guitarist James Madden, bassist Callum McFadden and drummer Harry Chalmers formed the band in 2013, recording a cover of The Rolling Stones “19th Nervous Breakdown,” (hmm, this sounds familiar) then signed with Heavenly Records.
The sound is full of bright pop hooks and dense guitars on “Up In The Air” and jaunty catchy chorus of “P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L .P.I.E.R.R.E.” proves this band is more than just a messy impressionist pop band. Early singles “Jasper” and “Kathleen Sat On The Arm of Her Favorite Chair” are solid slices of life set to fuzz riffs, recalling the best pop of the ’90s. Not a single wasted note here, even the long four minute plus “Always Coming Back 2 You” held my attention. Brilliant indie pop that is highly recommended.