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Shake Some Action!

Sunny Days Ahead

(Satellite 451; US: 17 Jun 2008; UK: Unavailable)

Shake Some Action! won’t garner many points for originality, but hey – that’s the thing about great power pop: creativity is almost secondary to catchiness. Case in point: “Your Valentine”, a mid-tempo tune halfway through the Seattle group’s sophomore effort, Sunny Days Ahead, could be a million bar bands, but the melody and jangly Rickenbackers are too timeless to dismiss. Not nearly whimsical or complex enough to ape a band like the New Pornographers, they seem content playing a sort of simplified – but damn catchy – Elvis Costello update on highlights “Looking for Someone” or “Walking Away”. On some tracks (“Get It Together”, “You Don’t Care”), the heavier guitar attack threatens to undermine the group’s pop sensibilities – a bit like on Apples in Stereos’ recent efforts – but the vocal harmonies still shine through. The saminess won’t last them a whole career, but Sunny Days Ahead is a fine enough teaser for now. As I said, that’s the thing about great power pop.

Rating:

Zach Schonfeld is an associate editor for PopMatters and a reporter for Newsweek. Previously, he was an editorial fellow at The Atlantic Wire and graduated from Wesleyan University, birthplace of Das Racist, MGMT, and the nineteenth-century respiration calorimeter, where he served as the editor of Wesleying, a popular student-life blog. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting presidential birthplaces and teaching his dog to tweet. In addition to PopMatters, his writing has appeared online at Rolling Stone, TIME, Consequence of Sound, The Nation, USA Today College, The Columbia Journalism Review, The Rumpus, Paste Magazine, and the Hartford Courant. He can be reached at zschonfeld(at)gmail(dot)com or on Twitter @zzzzaaaacccchhh.


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