Thursday, October 08, 2009

CD of the Day, 10/8/09: Wiretree-Luck

One of the more common criticisms leveled at the power pop genre is that it all sounds the same, it's generic, everybody tries to sound like someone else, etc. It's a facile criticism, usually made by someone who doesn't listen to that much power pop. Nevertheless, this criticism doesn't apply to Kevin Peroni, whose Wiretree has an idiosyncratic sound - whenever one of his tunes randomly pops on my iPod, I have no trouble identifiying it as such. As I've touched on before, Wiretree's sound is best described as a hybrid between the Wilbury-era production Jeff Lynne brought to that band as well as Tom Petty and George Harrison and the poppier side of indie rock that artists such as Elliott Smith brought to the table.

With a brilliant 2005 debut EP and 2007's full-length Bouldin (which made my top 5 that year) under his belt, Peroni has a lot to live up to with Luck, and succeeds for the most part. The first chords of "Across My Mind" pass through the ears like meeting an old friend as the familiar acoustic guitar, drums and baroque piano that made the EP and Bouldin great are back in service of another shuffling, catchy melody. "Back in Town", the first single (mp3 download below), leads with xylophone reminiscent of Wilco's "A Shot in the Arm" and its sound does owe a lot to Summerteeth, which in my opinion was Jeff Tweedy's (and Jay Bennett's especially) finest moment. That 1-2 punch sets a daunting standard for the rest of the disc, but it's a challenge met. Particular standouts are "Information", in which Peroni rocks with a tougher edge without sacrificing the tune, the byzantine melody of "Satellite Song", in which Wiretree goes toe-to-toe with fellow Austinites Spoon, and the lovely "Heart of Hearts", which captures the "classic" Wiretree sound.

With any Luck, this will be the disc that propels Wiretree before a much larger audience. It retains their signature sound yet broadens it to point where I could see the intelligentsia of indie rock and the poobahs at Pitchfork giving it a thumbs up if they take the time to check it out. Here's hoping they do.

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mp3 of "Back in Town"

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