Monday, February 24, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Radio Ready: Wisconsin - Lost Power Pop Hits 1979-1982

Power pop, with its infectious blend of catchy British Invasion hooks and stateside attitude, all boiled down into economically concentrated blasts of teenage drama, has developed an impressively international fan base, but one place it's popularity has proved particularly long lasting is the American Midwest, where it's simple pleasures have never fully gone out of style. It makes sense then that the Austin-based reissue label Cheap Rewards Records, after getting their native Texas out of the way, would turn their attention to the area for the second installment of their Radio Ready series of state-based compilations, and Wisconsin ably lives up to the challenge of representing the region.

Collecting rambunctious sides from 14 Badger State bands, mostly hailing from Milwaukee, Radio Ready: Wisconsin - Lost Power Pop Hits 1979-1982 zeroes in on an especially fruitful time and place, in all its Cheap Trick-inspired glory. Considered as a whole, the selections do an admirable job of seamlessly representing both the "power" and the "pop" sides of the equation, from Muscle Beach's lovably-boneheaded party anthem "Let's Get Dumb" to the almost self-consciously Beatle-esque "Wait a Minute" by the Pops (yes, "the Pops"), but each two-and-a-half minute tale of teen angst and/or ecstasy also stands alone as an earworm worth having stuck in your head for a little while.

With some songs available on other comps, a few of them free, and considering that an essential entry from the Shivvers is missing from the digital version due to licensing conflicts, it's probably best to hold out for the upcoming vinyl release, despite the unappealing cover art, particularly since it's the first time a handful of previously-unreleased tracks have found their way onto wax. That wax even comes in the signature green and gold of the state's beloved Packers in addition to your classic black, although given number of power pop fans in Wisconsin, and the high quality of these cuts, the limited run will likely go fast.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...