Monday, April 15, 2024

The Reflectors - Going Out Of Fashion

Well if you know, you know: most of you don't need me to tell you that The Reflectors are one of the greatest power pop bands currently in existence. When a band of this caliber releases a new record, you buy first and ask questions later. That said, I think The Reflectors' third album Going Out Of Fashion (out now on Neon Nile) will surprise you a little. At the very least, it surprised me. With power pop bands, a sophomore jinx is rare. On the other hand, that third LP can be problematic. If your third album sounds too similar to the first two, people get bored. But if your third album sounds too different from the first two, people are disappointed. On Going Out of Fashion, The Reflectors have navigated this situation marvelously. Far from succumbing to the junior jinx, they've made their best album yet. They've accomplished this by going back to their punk rock roots but also progressing to a more mature style of songwriting. That almost sounds like a contradiction, but trust me, it's not. Going Out Of Fashion is by far the band's punkiest record, and as a result, its sound has been highly energized. This is a "Play loud or else!" type of record. You can hear the influence of classic first generation punk-pop coupled with the modern power pop sound that The Reflectors have helped define. At the same time, you can hear that the band's songwriting has not stagnated. Several of these tunes are more lyrically and musically sophisticated than anything these guys could have written a few years back. And I love the variety of this record. Vintage Reflectors songs like "All the Way Down," "I Gotta Run," and "Living in a Dream" will be crowd-pleasers in power pop circles. But just as good are more "grown-up" pop songs like "I Don't Know Anymore" and the extraordinary "Time Is All I Have." In the other direction, punk-influenced songs like "Limitation" and the stone-cold banger of a title track bring a much harder edge to The Reflectors. "Losing My Mind" is pure punk rock that will just about melt your face off! 

Resisting the temptation to just make Faster Action, part 2, The Reflectors have really stepped it up with Going Out Of Fashion. This is a fantastic album in every sense: the songs, vocals, production, and musicianship all knock it out of the park. This is still essentially a Reflectors album, but it's far from a copy of the band's previous efforts. In a world where melody, stellar hooks, and great songs are timeless, the title of this album certainly does not describe this truly excellent band. 

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