It’s weird to talk about power pop in 2014. There aren’t any big names in the genre. Maybe whatever band Dan Vapid is doing now, put even that is really just pop punk. It’s a genre that has more or less faded away since it’s heyday in the 80s. Like anything else though, it has to still exist somewhere. No matter what the genre is, someone is playing it somewhere. But, without much along the line of historical talking points, I’m going to keep this brief.
Mike Bell & The Movies play power pop. Not pop punk trying to be power pop. Actual, honest to goodness, power pop. When talking about this kind of thing, people will invariably mention Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick, Joe Jackson, and maybe The Jags. It’s always the same talking points. And, you know what, those are all super valid comparisons here. I could sit here and write some long winded review about Mike Bell & The Movies. It would be almost totally superfluous, so I’ll keep it short. I don’t how anyone can listen to this record without getting stoked.
Power pop, when done right, is absolutely my jam. In this case, it being made by a band that is ex-Algernon Cadwallader, Bandname, and Dangerous Ponies certainly doesn’t hurt. More than anything though, Nothing Works, as an album, is just great. There is nothing new under the sun, and this is an example of how fun that can be. It’s a record that sounds like pure 80’s kitsch. It’s simple pop melodies, songs about love, and it is fast paced. It’s a summer record in every sense of the word. It’s energetic and catchy in all the best ways.
People use familiarity as an insult. As though a band that doesn’t sound amazingly original are less good than other bands. You know what is important about a band? Whether or not they sound good, and if they are good at what they do. Mike Bell & The Movies meet both points of criteria I have. Let’s try to not over think everything.