If you are laboring under the belief that the only thing coming out of Nashville is a bunch of singing GQ boys in white stetsons, this new disc will be something of a revelation. At the head of the class is the Cheap Trick/Material Issue-influenced The Shazam, who produced a brilliant bevy of instant pop classics on their debut album. “I Hate That Song” is typical of the Shazam’s self-assured, melodic perfection. It’s ironic that you’ll be singing a song with that title to yourself for weeks after hearing it.
Bill Lloyd may be an unfamiliar name, but country fans will remember his earlier work in Foster and Lloyd. There always was a Beatlemaniac lurking under the steel guitars, as evidenced by “Contact High” and “How Can We Go On.” Elsewhere, contributions from Owsley—who have a new disc out on Giant Records and play Jellyfish/Ben Folds Five-inspired pop—Idle Jets, and Who Hit John make the case that Nashville is far more than the province of Rhinestone Cowboys.