Wednesday, August 09, 2006

CD of the Day, 8/9/06: The Junior League-Catchy

When you title an album "Catchy", you're either being ironic or confident. In the case of the Junior League (actually singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Joe Adragna), it's clearly the latter. Adragna has crafted a fine disc of breakup and post-breakup songs in a power pop setting that calls to mind many of the touchstones of the genre.

Opener "These Tender Things" is anything but tender in its sound, a blend of Kinks-rock and garage pop. "This Is What We Are" might be the standout on the disc, providing the answer "damn great" to the musical question "What would Marshall Crenshaw sound like if he were backed by The Smithereens?" Following is the mid-tempo "Let Me Win", featuring some nice falsetto vocals by Andragna on the chorus. "This Beautiful Room Is Empty" reminds me of Crenshaw again (Andragna really can sound a lot like him) as well as Eugene Edwards, as does "Hear My Voice" which jangles and sounds like Crenshaw covering the Byrds covering Bob Dylan. (cf. Crenshaw's cover of "My Back Pages"). And if you think I'm pushing the Crenshaw comparison too far, listen to the sound clip of "The Enemy" over at the CD Baby page for the disc, or stream "Would You Believe" at his myspace page, and judge for yourself. (Interestingly, among the myriad influences cited at his myspace page, MC is not one of them, and neither did the handful of other reviews I read mention MC either, so maybe it's just me).

Anyway, this is a highly recommended disc, two thumbs up, four stars (truly not a bad track to be found), and all that. And damn, it's catchy.

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