When I started reviewing IPO compilations, it was always a special time of year to listen to the new talent that IPO’s David Bash found throughout the globe. And over the past 20 years, IPO has grown to encompass 14 festivals all over the world. From New York to Tel Aviv it has become an institution in the power pop milieu, and a rite-of-passage for many artists seeking a dedicated fan base.
The Top Boost starts us off with the impressive “What If She Loves You,” but many more good songs are here, my early favorites include Lannie Flowers “Kiss A Memory,” Diamond Hands “Just Another Day” and the Beatlesque “I Don’t Know You Now” by Slyboots. Some interesting debuts too; The Harriets “The Hangers On,” the jangling Lunchbox “Everybody Knows” and The Shamus Twins “You’ll Never Take Her Heart.” If you enjoy 10cc, you’ll love “My Soft Rock Girlfriend” by Blake Jones & The Trike Shop.
The jangle-tastic Jimmy Haber’s “Chelsea” injects some fresh energy here, but the rookies are what stand out a bit more. Steve Rosenbaum gives us the rare love song for married folk “Kiss My Wife,” the new band Nine Violets “I Will Let You Down” is a catchy gem, and The Tearaways do a damn fine turn on “That’s Rock!” Many bands have those classic ’60s influences, like The Vinylos, Shplang, and New Mystery Girl. Others lean more towards modern folk-pop like Sue Hedges “Two Nearly Touching Hearts,” or Swiss rockers Jengi get more garage-style on “Rod Stewart.”
The variety is more apparent as the discs are pretty equal in quality, even though by the time we get to the third disc the names are less familiar. Starting with the great harmonies of Crickle’s psyche-pop “Penelope Please” and then Caper Clown’s bouncy “Pockets,” both sound very fresh. More standouts include Leslie Pereira and The Lazy Heroes “Fly Like A Bird,” the very cool sound of The JetBeats “Top Of The Line,” and the glammy Viewers Of “Who’ll Be The One.” Some selections do push the boundaries of the genre, where you really can’t say they represent power pop at all. But the musical quality is what makes this collection an improvement over last year. Highly Recommended.