Affable guitar hero and power pop legend Pat Buchanan sparkles and shines on his new self-titled debut.
Fans of the Idle Jets will find much to love here, but, thanks to the Jets' former frontman's musical growth spurt, the songs are more effortless and melodic. Thanks to help from Swan Dive's Bill DeMain (who co-wrote all the songs with Buchanan) and Molly Felder (who adds her smooth vocals to Luckiest Girl) with Brad Jones producing, how could it not be a power pop classic?
Musical expectations aside, Pat Buchanan hands us 10 perfectly crafted and immediately memorable songs with seeming ease. Standout tracks like Under The Sun recall Pink Floyd's earlier days as a psychedelic pop group, while the pretty, Bachrachian lounge-pop vibe pervades wistfully themed songs like You Lose and Don't Forget To Write.
It may be pop, but it's far from bubblegum. Glass is surely the album's most moving moment, blending acoustic guitars, Greg Morrow's instinctive drumming and a small but incredibly beautiful orchestra courtesy of Chris Carmichael. Pat's voice is pleading, warm and above all, honest.
Balancing the album's easygoing wistfulness are, indeed, a few worthwhile rockers. Badfinger is resurrected on Love Goes Up In Smoke and the incredibly radio-friendly The World Is Flat. The album's focus, however, is mostly on laidback, lush pop songs with acoustic guitars, strings, bass harmonicas, flutes and vibes.
If you prefer your Beatlesque pop a little harder, you won't have to wait long. A sequel, which will reportedly mix in all-electric high-octane rockers with even more psychedelic and orchestral ballads (think XTC's Apple Venus I plus Wasp Star) is on the way in a few months. In the meantime, do check out this excellent record, available at www.notlame.com and www.milesofmusic.com.