Monday, December 01, 2008

CD of the Day, 12/1/08: The Well Wishers-Jigsaw Days

If power pop were like a sports league, Jeff Shelton might be the frontrunner for MVP. From his work in the The Spinning Jennies to his current role as frontman for The Well Wishers to his work in keeping the power pop flame alive through active participation in Audities and his podcast (The Power Pop Show), Shelton does it all in our neck of the woods. Although it seems like yesterday when Shelton formed The Well Wishers, the newly released Jigsaw Days marks the band's fourth full-length release and as usual, he delivers the goods.

The dominant sound for the Wishers is a midtempo jangly pop that finds its closest match in The Posies, especially as Shelton sounds like a cross between Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer. "Heroes" jumps off the disc in much this manner, and if you have their previous releases, it's like putting on your favorite comfortable sweater. "All The Suckers" rocks harder than the average Well Wishers track, but that's a good thing here; "Conscience Breaking Down" throws a few melodic curves, with a light 80s britpop influence, and Shelton goes largely acoustic in "Florida", his ode to my home state, which is greatly appreciated if for no other reason than it's not the 48927898099th song about California. Elsewhere, the one-man-and-his-disorted-guitar sound of "Drunk on the Tilt-O-Wheel" recalls The Replacements' "Answering Machine", and Shelton really lets loose on his axe in "Moving Mountains" and "Love Lies" is pure jangly bliss. By the end, I really couldn't help but starting chanting "M-V-P", "M-V-P". I got some funny looks, but you had to be there.

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The Well Wishers - Jigsaw Days

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