Friday, January 25, 2008
The pedigree brought to bear on this album is astounding. Andy and Jonathan Paley were part of a scene that fed directly into the pop end of the punk spectrum. They were there when CBGB's became the center of NYC rock 'n' roll culture. Jonathan Paley rehearsed briefly with the Heartbreakers, and Andy Paley played with Jerry Harrison in Catfish Black before Harrison joined the Modern Lovers. Andy would go on to produce multiple Jonathan Richman records as well as Madonna and Brian Wilson.
The Paley Brothers played power pop, a genre about which has been said is all about wearing stupid clothes, playing your stupid songs on your stupid guitar and not being stupid. Their sole self-titled LP is a perfect example of stupid-on-top/clever-underneath. Song titles like "You're The Best", "Lovin' Eyes Don't Lie" and "Come Out and Play" will rot your teeth out on sight. And if you stare too long at the free poster you might need a root canal, or washcloth, depending on your orientation. But these would-be heartthrobs are freakin' talented! Aside from their ringer of a guitarist, Eric Rose, this record excels in songcraft and arrangement. There are clear traces of Brian Wilson on the opener, "You're The Best." The quirky country flavor of their version of Mel Tillis' "Stick With Me Baby" reminds me of Lindsey Buckingham. The rest of the record is a melting pot of pop influences spiking outward into LA new wave, Appalachian Everly Brothers, British blues and Boston power pop. However, the entire record being barely thirty minutes long, no single subgenre claims high ground, making this record truly omnipop.
"You're the Best"
"Stick With Me Baby"