Release Date: Mar 22, 2005
Record label: V2
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Each decade has a handful of power pop icons to call its own, each working from the template that the Beatles and the Who constructed in the '60s, adhering to that melodic, guitar-driven sound but subtly updating it to fit the musical and emotional aesthetic of the time. In the '90s, the tradition was kept alive by Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet, who married Big Star and Badfinger to '80s college rock -- there was also Jellyfish, who acted as if the '80s never existed -- and in the 2000s, it's been the New Pornographers, an indie-centric act who fills the Fanclub's spot, and Detroit-based singer/songwriter Brendan Benson, who is this decade's Matthew Sweet. Not that the Sweet-Benson analogy is 100 percent accurate.
Two acclaimed albums and a few White Stripes songs is not enough for Brendan Benson. "What can you play now that'll move me in tears and leave me wanting more?" he asks. This is the challenge he sets himself on what should surely be his breakthrough album. The pop classicist sprinkles magic dust across different styles: he's as bright and breezy as Evan Dando one moment, as resplendent as Phil Spector the next, and you could pit his bubblegum choruses against 1960s classics.