Aug 26, 2008


There are a ton of bands these days that can be lumped into some kinda modern power-pop revisionism. Sure, a lot of combo's can glean what they can from the early Bomp catalog & Raspberries and Cheap Trick records (okay, maybe not the examples of power-pop influences that you might cite but ya get the point, right?), turn it up just a bit louder and knock out catchy little number or two. The problem now as it was then was when the full length album's come out-it usually was/is the only catchy number or two surrounded by filler. In the genre it's a rare breed that can knock out a bunch of songs in a row that keep ya from picking up the needle and skipping over songs.
Ear tickling jagged Rickerbacker jangle that's equal parts the Who (cuz after all if "I Can't Explain" and "The Kids Are Alright" are not prototypical power-pop songs what are? Didn't Townshend originally coin the term "Power Pop" too?) and the Jam. There's a slight Brit accent affection in Jesse's voice, but what great American band of this kind didn't have a bit of Anglophile in 'em? (of course we all know that some of the shittiest ones did too but that's not what were talking about here) as he wails & shouts about what these kind of songs are suppose to be about. Y'know. Town flirts, misunderstandings, getting paid and going out. The Men harmonize behind him and play the songs rooted in a way that shows the influences of the best 90's garage punk which these guys definitely cut their rock-n-roll teeth on and that's always much better than the way bands like the Nervous Eaters and Teenage Head sounded after they got defanged by producers who "know how to make a song a radio hit" got ahold of 'em.
Is this the perfect power album? Well....there's a needle lifter, the ballady "Sidewalks", but even it's updated homage paying to the token trick on each and every record of it's kind always has much more of a grit than say the one on that Pezband album. This album's much too good of a rock-n-roll record to hang the "power-pop" albatross around their neck anyway. If the kids ever just wanna dance again Gentlemen Jesse and his Men better be on American Bandstand every 6 weeks.


Anonymous said...

I loved the single! I couldn't wait to get my hands on the LP!!! But maybe...I just expect too much from bands that i love. The song writing is mostly there. "All I need tonight,tonight, is you oo oo" over and over isn't even clever. That's the only songwriting that truly bugs me on the disc.I think the ballad is one of the better tracks. The guitar work is everything i had hoped for and that's cool. What i really don't get from modern rock and roll bands is a confident lead vocalist. They either disguise their voice with creepy effects or like in Gentleman J's case, multitrack the hell out of them so he kinda turns into a robot. We all like The Jam,Real Kids and 20/20 and all that but then when it comes time to make a record we can't do it their way. We got to trash it up somehow. Why is that? Those records were made cheaply so lets not use the technology excuse. Gen X records were recorded in a rehearsal space as were alot of the 70's UK punk/powerpop bands. So i guess i got one thumb pointing up and the other pointing down on this LP. I know that if he ever makes i live LP i will stand in line at the local shop for a copy. Gentleman Jessie And His Men are a great band. I just think this LP was a mistake. They either tried too hard,or were not ready yet.

Dale said...

I don't think the GJ album was recorded on some top end budget and do think it was recorded in a way to pay homage to that old sound (though maybe with better mic's). I think it does sound like it could me made from that era but without the cheesy gloss that a lot the bands from that time suffered from. Dave Rahn's good at getting that sound to these ears.

Great post/response/counterpoint none the less.