Saturday, June 09, 2012
listen). This is always the place my head goes first with the phrase "power-pop" because they were so serious about advancing the "power" side of the equation, and just naturals at the "pop." This is way more murky than the New Wave reviews implied or the primary colors album design vaguely promised (that or something about Lenin in the glorious days before his betrayal by the dogs of power). But it wears so well. You can really lean into it all volumes, high or low, and it has a way of pounding into your soul under regular inspection. I played it for years on hot nights when I couldn't sleep, way into the small hours. All intentions are fully laid out in the opening two-song suite, "Strange Man, Changed Man" and "Lonely Dancer," which serves up eight minutes of the howling, thumping drone and the tunesmithery both, attacking in sheets of sound. The signifying cover, buried toward the back, is "I'm a Believer" and they knock it right out of the park. It's one of the great versions and it's also all Bram Tchaikovsky, self-serious and potent and entirely within themselves. "Girl of My Dreams" is no slouch either, as long as we're at it, going just shambolic enough on the Raspberries-style approach to opening up a song to actually outdo them at their own game, if only for that moment. And it only was a moment, wasn't it? But it was really quite a good moment. And remains so.