What was originally a pledge campaign (but the less said about that the better I guess) from Jeff Whalen (yeah you know the guy from TSAR) what you never heard Tsar whatsamaddawivyou? C’mon people read the review then go do some interweb searching and go fill yer boots with some luscious power pop.
where were we? Oh yeah, Jeff Whalen. Well, a bit of background Jeff was the singer/guitar player for Tsar they were great and you should buy their records. Right, that’s the background on Jeff and now onto ‘Ten More Rock Superhits’. So we might have joined the party late seeing as this was out a few months ago but quite how we missed this through all the Pledge fiasco is beyond me and we can only apologise besides its better to be late than never and this record needs to be brought to the masses and that’s you the good readers of RPM you of impecable taste (why else would you be here?)
’10 More Rock Superhits’ begins with a round of applause and then bang straight in with the cloudburst of powerpop goodness. Huge hooks dampened guitar power chords did I mention big big No BIG melody that’s pretty much ‘Goofing Around’ damn its even got Handclaps blips and whirls and xylophone clanks or is that champagne glasses? Who knows its a great big sky sized blast of rock and roll to warm the coldest heart.
Jeff leans on an impeccable catalogue of power pop for inspiration. Cheap Trick, Plimsouls, Big Star, Sweet n T Rex and about a bazillion other rock n pop dandys who ever picked up a guitar and rocked out with a pop song. ‘Ground Game For Worm’ I dunno what it’s about but does it matter. Its got a backbeat and a big chorus and it sounds like these songs were written driving around a coastal road looking for a beach party with Jeff in the back with the roof down and a guitar for company.
Oh shit that sounded like a flute on the intro of ‘Kung Fu Criminal’ but not in a prog way more like the flute used in HR Puffnstuff. Its the beachboys played by Cheap Trick. It makes you a bit sick that a guy can seemingly knock out near perfect power pop at will and finding a couple of gems is a difficult task but to hit the spot ten times in a row is either the biggest fluke or genius (now I love Tsar and I know how many tunes they had Soooo for me it just has to be the latter)
‘Man Of Devotion’ is laid back and with a softer tone on the vocals makes for an excellent track then to follow it up with a step up in pace that is the more aggressive ‘The Alien Lanes’ (No I’m not gonna try and work out what it all means) With Gerald reviewing the Brothers Steve it looks like we’re being spoilt with great power pop records from some of the finest writers and there’s the new Redd Kross album to come as well.
‘Shanghai Surprise’ is unashamedly pop from the skiffle of the banjo and kazoo with the barroom piano rolling round the back is light relief where ‘Don’t Give It Up’ steals the show for me. If we could get serious for a second as ‘Soylent Blue’ is a melancholy four minutes of piano-driven big balladry with strings ‘n’ layered vocals which only leaves the title track to sign off what is a wonderful and light album full of great tunes written and played by a totally committed pop writing superstar. You might never have heard of him or anything he’s ever done before but that’s ok we all have to start somewhere and ’10 More Rock Super Hits’ is a pretty decent place to start. Buy it
USA people buy the album Here
UK/Europe peeps buy it Here