Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Say hello to The Solicitors!
What is it about Australia and power pop? There's got to be something in the water down there! Or is it the vegemite? The latest in a seemingly infinite line of excellent Aussie power pop groups, Melbourne's Solicitors are set to release their debut EP next month on Popboomerang Records (the "Stiff Records of Australia"). In the meantime, you can stream it for free over at the label's Bandcamp page.
The Solicitors specialize in the skinny tie variety of power pop - inspired by new wave era stalwarts like Elvis Costello, The Knack, and Nick Lowe. Hmmm, have these guys been raiding my record collection? They even cover "Back of My Hand" by The Jags! For sure, they have "the sound" down pat. But just as importantly, they've also delivered a very strong collection of songs on this five-track debut. Made To Measure abounds with energy and crunch - along with hooks that would have been made for the radio if it were still 1980. As the label puts it, this is "good old-fashioned rock 'n roll to dance and drink and make out to". And while the feel of the music is fun and upbeat, the influence of Costello (and probably Joe Jackson) is palpable in Lee Jones's fantastically sardonic lyrics. The hook line to "Pretty Penny" is so brilliantly scathing that I won't dare spoil it for you. And surely the toxic relationship woes of "I Love Your Love" will strike a chord with a whole lot of people.
While the style here recalls '79/'80 power pop with a touch of off-kilter new wave, there's nothing "dated" about these songs. The Solicitors do a bang-up job of updating the pop sounds of yesteryear. Their melodies are strong, the production is top-notch, and Jones is a songwriter of considerable potential. Stiff Records fans and power pop geeks in general, listen up!