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The Mood Elevator, Married Alive (Doppler)
Give Chris Plum some credit. Taking a break from his day job as a member of Brendan Benson's backing band, the Wellfed Boys, Plum (with plenty of help from Benson) has, on Married Alive crafted a power pop album that's not a retread of Benson's gem, Lapalco. That's not to say Plum is wholly original, as most of Married Alive chronicles that most popular of power pop tropes, girl trouble, but when the songs are as catchy and pithy as Plum's are, who cares? Plum doesn't share his co-writer Benson's penchant for stacking rhyme upon rhyme, but they both throw out more hooks than they know what to do with. Songs like "Boycott", "Watch Your Girl" and "Long Hard Look", with their guitar crunch, demand to be blared from speakers and air guitared. There's also a distinct Get Happy!!!-era Elvis Costello vibe - see the funky "Guilty" and "Beginner's Luck". And of course Benson fans will warm to the twee pop of "Anglophile" and "Everything's In Place", an ode to domestic bliss so complete it describes a "perfect runner [that] runs down the hall". That tranquility is shattered by the gut punch of a closing track, "At the Wedding". Needless to say, it's not Plum's own wedding. The refrain of "Say your wedding vows / When you do I'll cry out loud" automatically lands the song in Tear-My-Heart-Out-Why-Doncha Power Pop Lament Hall of Fame.