The gauntlet has been thrown down. For the rest of 2012, power pop albums will have to be measured against David Myhr's Soundshine if they want a spot on year-end best-of list as the former Merrymaker has crafted a solo debut that reminds us all again what we love about power pop. About 10-15 years ago, the Merrymakers were the gold standard for power pop and Myhr's solo debut, so long in the making, lives up to that billing. Like the best power pop, his songs are instantly likeable but don't wear out on repeated listens. The piano-based "Never Mine" is a tremendous opener, with its Beatlesque verses and sing-along chorus. "Looking for a Life" recalls his former band with its breezy melody and urgent pace, and the punchy popper "Got You Where He Wanted" is 70s-tastic, featuring female backing vocals in the chorus and a bit of an Andy Kim feel.
Elsewhere, "I Love the Feeling" is pure sunshine pop that reflects its title, replete with a "wooo-oh-oh-wooh" chorus, "Cut to the Chase" is another driving popper that will insert its "come on, come on" refrain into your subconscious and you won't be able to say "no" to "Don't Say No" another pop winner that would have been a guaranteed Billboard #1 in 1976. "Loveblind" is another treat for Merrymakers fans, a buoyant number with another unforgettable chorus. The lovely ballad "The One" gives the listener a chance to catch his/her breath, and then it's back to pop perfection with "Wanderlust" and "Icy Tracks", the latter featuring synths and some fine guitar work. "Ride Along" makes the perfect closer, returning to the piano pop that opened the album and giving the impression of everyone gathering to sing along and waving goodbye as the credits roll.
As you may have figured by now, this one shoots to #1 on my Best of 2012 list to date. Although it will only be released March 29 in Europe and Japan for now, the good news for US-based readers is that it's being made available through Kool Kat and Ray is taking pre-orders for autographed copies. You can also get a free download of an alternate version of "Never Mine" from David Myhr's site (see widget below).