Power-pop proficiency wears thin after a while.
Archie Powell & the Exports play a brand of high-energy pop-rock that is lyrically clever, musically competent and, ultimately, a little wearing. At their worst they can sound derivative of Oasis sans Liam’s sneer (“Job Fair,” “Great Ideas in Action”), while at their best they channel the guitar-driven power-pop verve of, say, The Pursuit of Happiness. “Metronome” kicks things off nicely with buzzing guitars and polysyllabic choral hooks, and this is quickly followed by “Crazy Pills” and “Bend Over Backwards”, which share the same attributes. As the record progresses, though, the returns diminish. By the time the listener reaches the maudlin “You Might Be Cruel (or I Might Be Dumb)” and the grating “All the Same”, patience is wearing thin. Cleverness and energy are all well and good, but something a little more heartfelt is needed to make these tunes stick.
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