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REVIEWED! FEB 2002
RATINGS:
(A) Essential (B) Recommended (C) For fans only (D) Avoid

IN BRIEF Confession time...it's been a busy three months since December last year and I'm afraid I've been tardy with my reviews. For one thing, I have started writing for a few more fine music publications - viz. Bucketfull of Brains & Pop Culture Press - and for another I'm in-between jobs so finding time for listening and assessing music has been difficult. Which accounts for the capsule reviews you will find on this page as I attempt to wrap up the remaining album reviews of 2001. I hope that even with the limited number of words, I am able to convey the worth of each release, most of which, I must say, deserve the Power of Pop recommendation. Check 'em all out if you can...and normal service shall resume shortly...THANKS! Enjoy...

PHIL ANGOTTI AND THE IDEA - FLOWER BOMB/EVERY SINGLE SATURDAY - BUILDING/LOLAS - SILVER DOLLAR SUNDAY/JIM BOGGIA - FIDELITY IS THE ENEMY/THE STEAMKINGS - MARMALIZED/PAULA KELLEY - NOTHING/EVERYTHING/JOHN TRAIN - LOOKS LIKE UP/KEVIN TIHISTA'S RED TERROR - DON'T BREATHE A WORD/PETER LACEY - THRU A GLASS BRIGHTLY/THE RUMORS - MIND THE GAP/AD FRANK - MR. FANCY PANTS/STATESIDE - TWICE AS GONE/COSMO TOPPER - PURE FAST VIBRATION/WITCH HAZEL SOUND - THIS WORLD, THEN THE FIREWORKS.../GLASSTOWN - LIVING AND FORGETTING/OCEAN - MERMAID MUSIC/THE CENTIMETERS - THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS/BRIAN PEREIRA - FROM MY WINDOW/LITTLE PINK - CUL-DE-SAC COWGIRL/1200 TECHNIQUES - INFINITE STYLES EP/OPERATION MAKEOUT - FIRST BASE EP

PHIL ANGOTTI AND THE IDEA Flower Bomb (Jam) www.go.to/jamrecords
For all the power pop elegance of blockbuster opener "At the Bookstore," it is Angotti's reverence towards chamber pop doyens the Zombies ("Being Colin Blunstone") and Nick Drake (the title track - all three parts!) that strike a chord. Soft pop ambience, sophisticated hooks and knowing sixties songcraft distinguish Flower Bomb  as a pop essential with a capital 'P'! (A) Top
EVERY SINGLE SATURDAY Building (Self-released)
http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/137/the_difference_engine.html 
Assured pop technique like the kind displayed by Every Single Saturday deserves the highest praise. Off the bat, the material on Building compares favorably with the work of Jellyfish, XTC, Hindu Rodeo & dada. Chockful of inventive arrangements, sophisticated moves and gorgeous tunes, there is never a dull moment with Every Single Saturday.
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LOLAS Silver Dollar Sunday (Jam) www.go.to/jamrecords
Tim Boykin, Mark Reynolds & Waylon Smith prove that the sublime debut Ballerina Breakout was no flash-in-the-pan with another example of breath-taking, pulsating powerpop. Combining the punk energy of the Ramones with the bubblegum charm of the Monkees, songs like "See Yer Picture Too," "In My Car," "Dog and Pony Show" and the title track will light up the lives of every guitar pop junkie! (A) Top
JIM BOGGIA Fidelity is the Enemy (Scrapple) www.jimboggia.com 
A firm favorite amongst pure pop fans "in-the-know," Philadelphia's Jim Boggia impresses with his astute grasp of pop dynamics. You'll hear the Beatles (natch!), Brian Wilson (a Pet Sounds cover no less!) and magical chord changes in gems like the jaunty "Bubblegum 45s," the affecting "Black and Blue" and the bossa nova inflected "nothing Wrong with me." fans of Todd Rundgren, Jellyfish, Linus of Hollywood. the Raspberries and Big Star will adore this instant pop classic. (A)
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THE STEAMKINGS Marmalized (Not Lame) www.notlame.com 
What d'ya know? Yet another powerpop winner from Not Lame! The involvement of the Posies' Jon Auer and & Ken Stringfellow in the recording of Marmalized is good indication of its value. A wide spectrum of classic pop moments is captured here that will send any card-carrying powerpop lover into fits of extacy. There's the Fannies-channeling "Happy Full & Fond of You," the horn-led driving "Rickenbacker," the breezy "Garden Song" and the punky "Another One" to satisfy every melodic guitar rock fan's appetite and then some! (A)
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PAULA KELLEY Nothing/Everything (Stop, Pop & Roll) www.stoppopandroll.com 
I'm in love! Kelley, late of the Drop Nineteens and Boy Wonder, has delivered a simply lovely collection of hook-laden, intelligent songs that brim with bright-eyed optimism & glittering melodicism. Highlights include the smooth "You Gonna Make It?" the poignant "All Request Hour" and the touching "For Someone." A unique talent. (A)
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JOHN TRAIN Looks Like Up (Record Cellar) www.record-cellar.com 
How do you describe a songwriting method that synthesizes the best elements of country music and pure pop? How about unadulterated joy? Well, that sums up John Train's latest fine release where shimmering songs like "Lonely Next Door," Misery Loves Company" and "Cracked and Crumbled" are the crucial milestones on a thoroughly enjoyable journey. (A)
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KEVIN TIHISTA'S RED TERROR Don't Breathe a Word (Parasol) www.parasol.com 
Beatlesque constructs are no surprises in the pop underground. Don't ask me why but Tihista's soft pop confections simulate the spiritual highs of the late George Harrison's finest material. Maybe it's because it provided comfort the moment the news of Harrison's passing was announced. More to do with internal essence than specific sounds, the invocation is subtle yet obvious. Tender yet sturdy. (A)
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PETER LACEY Thru A Glass Brightly (Pink Hedgehog) www.pinkhedgehog.com 
One of 2001's hidden treasure troves, this gorgeous album by Brit Peter Lacey brings together the affecting chamber pop touches of Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds era. Also, evident, are Andy Partridge's recent dalliances with orchestral conceits (see Apple Venus Part I) and Elvis Costello's collaborations with Burt Bacharach. There is remarkable consistency in the repertoire that will amaze and please. One for the heart. (A) 
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THE RUMORS Mind the Gap (EarX-tacy) www.earx-tacy.com 
Pleasing melodious rock with a twang, the Rumors apply a strong country-folk flavor to their brazen pub rock approach. Inflecting their straightforward sonic structures with astute use of accordion, flute, banjo & mandolin, the Rumors approximation of mid-80s REM, Soul Asylum and the Replacements is a satisfying concoction. (B)
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AD FRANK Mr. Fancypants (Stop, Pop & Roll) www.stoppopandroll.com 
Ad Frank (not his real name!) may mention Mark (ex-American Music Club) Eitzel in his opening track but musically, one will only recall the synth-pop of Gary Numan on most of this intriguing album!! Well, that and glam-era David Bowie in "Davy, I Didn't Mean to Push You Off," Nick Drake in "Bay of Funday" or the Cure in "Conjugal Visit." Will the real Ad Frank please stand up?! Disorientating but bags of fun!!! (B)
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STATESIDE Twice as Gone (Disgraceland) www.disgraceland.com 
Nashville natives may namecheck the Country Music Hall of Fame in the liner notes of Twice As Gone, but the raucous muisc they parlay is closer to Neil Young/Crazy Horse & the Rolling Stones than um Alabama. That said, their penchant to mix the power chords with pedal steels certainly gives them that extra edge to warrant scurtiny by fans of great rock music. (B)
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COSMO TOPPER'S PURE VIBRATION (Self released) http://Bandproducts.com/cosmotopper.html
Cosmo Topper (aka Morley Bartnoff) evokes strongly the solo material of Pete Townshend. If that suggests tunesmithery of the highest quality than spot on! "For...the Time Being" especially, conveys a passionate blend of melody and power, emotion and intelligence that hte Who leader epitomizes. Elsewhere, the lusty "All Signs Point to Yes," the psychedelic "Topper Takes a trip" and the beaty "Better Be Real" emphasizes Topper's assets. (B)
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THE WITCH HAZEL SOUND This World, Then the Fireworks...(Hidden Agenda) www.parasol.com 
Not quite sure what to make of this as it contains various seemingly incongrous qualities. Well, an obvious debt is owed to the 60s legends Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks & Arthue (Love) Lee is discernible but certainly there is a psych-pop sensibility thta plants them firmly in Flaming Lips-Mercury Rev-Grandaddy territory. Good company, I reckon. (B)
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GLASSTOWN Living and Forgetting (Bitter Stag) www.glasstown.com 
Offbeat pop? Perhaps. Glasstown operate in the same jazz-ska-punk-pop corner as the so-called 'new wave' artists like Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Madness and XTC. Which makes for a refreshing, invigorating smart look at hi-jink pop. (B)
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OCEAN Mermaid Music (Ocean Rhythm) www.oceanmermaid.com 
Pondering Ocean's appealing pout will not prepare you for the psychedelic funk workouts evident on the Scandinavian siren's debut release. However, the music is as sultry and exotic as her image would suggest. Slick and well-crafted, allow yourself to be entranced. (C)
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THE CENTIMETERS The Lifetime Achievement Awards (Space Baby) www.spacebaby.net 
With the Bowiesque (circa The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory) selection on hand (in particular, "Julian," "The Birthday Game," "Daddy's Gone (Keyes)" and "Baby Doll Socks"), it is no shock that the Centimeters also bring to mind the likeminded influences of Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Birthday Party and Nick Cave. Instructional is the eerie cover of Brel's "Next." I hesitate to assign the "goth" tag to the Centimeters' work but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. (C)
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BRIAN PEREIRA From My Window (Self released) 
Pereira is a unique talent in the wasteland that is the Singapore rock scene. Pereira's prime area of expertise is smart folk-rock as songs like "Pray," "Your Smiling Face" & "Miracle of Life" attest. Pereira is equally adept with bluesy rockers like "Customer Services," "Something Good" & "Please Don't Hurt Me Now." But what stands out most in From My Window is Pereira's dedication to God and family and the wonderful seasonal nugget, "We Welcome Christmas day" on which yours truly was fortunate to contribute keyboards and backing vocals. Despite that, give Pereira a chance! (C)
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LITTLE PINK Cul-de-sac Cowgirl (Adult Swim) www.littlepinktheband.com 
Sophisticated alt. country is delivered in spades by Little Pink where Mary Battiata's subtle Joni Mitchell's vocal inflections enliven these heartfelt songs. From the moving "Shadow" to rootsy "All Right, Okay," from the strident "Dried Out Loud" to the robust "Cannibal," Battiata and co bring a variety of gifts and perspectives to the basic twang rock format and with some aplomb too. (C)
1200 TECHNIQUES Infinite Styles EP (Rubber) www.rubberrecords.com.au 
Hip Hop merchants 1200 Techniques are certainly a distinct departure for the usually powerpop-centric Rubber label down under. This 5-track CD is a good introductory showcase of the breakbeat trio's potential. Fans of Chemical Brothers and Apollo 440 will appreciate Infinite Styles' melding of dance, funk, electronica and good ol' fashioned rock 'n' roll. (C)
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OPERATION MAKEOUT First Base EP (Mint) http://mintrecs.com 
Staccato riffs, motormouth lyrics and quick fire rhythms and Katie's barely in-tune vocals make for a millennial punk rock encounter that eschews melody for energy, finesse for fervour. Don't mistake the looseness for weakness, Operation Makeout display tons of passion that will overwhelm any unsuspecting pop listener. Thrash-lite anyone? (C) 
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