Curious Things Naif LP

After countless rip-offs of either the TOMS or (god forbid) BIG STAR, power pop’s luster has really tarnished for me over the years. Then I throw on this record, and initially my scuzzy punk brain is saying “too shiny, sounds too good!,” but then I realize this is what I’ve been missing for years in power pop. It’s still referential music, to be sure, but it’s referencing heyday ’90s power pop bands like TEENAGE FANCLUB and especially BUFFALO TOM. So I’m suddenly sitting up straighter in my chair, realizing this is something I didn’t think I’d ever hear again! A band with chops, a singer with loads of character, harmonies, and complex arrangements that hit. It takes a fair amount of confidence to put out music this sincere, and I’m totally here for it. To me, it’s tougher to write an honest-to-god ballad like “The Night” with some wavering fragility to it that beats out a hundred leather jacket ’70s-worshiping ironic rockers. This is so far the biggest surprise of the year for me, something I didn’t even know I was looking for, and I can’t wait to spin it all over again.