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Monday, September 6, 2010

PAUL COLLINS King Of Power Pop! reviews

Collins doesn’t fornicate around here – he just whips out nugget after nugget of catchy, melodic, chiming guitar pop with two guitars, bass and drums. The assertion in the album title may seem over the top, but after spinning King of Power Pop! a few times, you’ll find it difficult to disagree. – The Big Takeover

Leave it to the commoners of the blogosphere to endlessly debate Paul Collins’ status in the power pop firmament; as for this humble rockcrit, given the uniquely high quality of tuneage on King of Power Pop!, with nary a duff track among the thirteen, I say give him the crown. He’s earned it with better than three decades of uncompromising loyalty to the power pop aesthetic. – Rev Keit A. Gordon / Blurt

Collins has cut a handful of fine records since the breakup of the Beat, but King of Power Pop! is the first one in ages that captures the tough, upbeat sound of his most memorable work, and it proves the man hasn’t lost his touch for writing tight, hooky tunes with killer hooks and energetic guitar figures. Collins’ voice is a little rougher than it was in his salad days, but he makes that work to his favor, giving the songs a touch of defiant swagger even when he’s sounding sweet and heartbroken, and when he and his lead guitarist Eric Blakely lock in, this sounds like the perfect follow-up to the Beat’s classic albums for Columbia, bursting with tuneful vigor and rock & roll passion (and arriving a mere quarter-century after the fact). – Mark Deming / AMG

(Paul Collins) new album is called King of Power Pop! and it takes guts to go with that
title, but Collins has the chops to back it up. – The Washington Post

In his liner notes for his newest album, Paul Collins describes King of Power Pop! as “the record that connects the dots, from The Nerves to The Breakaways to The Beat to today”. This may be one of the most accurate assessments I’ve ever read an artist make of his own work. The record has a distinctly nostalgic feel in the best possible way, sounding both fresh and familiar at the same time. On the first listen, you almost feel as if you’ve heard these songs before. This isn’t a criticism of Collins’ originality. It’s a tribute to his ability to craft solid, punchy, thoroughly enjoyable rock and roll. – Music Tap

Recording in Detroit with Jim Diamond producing, Collins sounds as if he’s fresh off the end of a tour with the Beat – his voice a tad ragged but still thrilled by the glories of power pop. He charges hard into the bluesy “Do You Wanna Love Me?” and cuts the difference between the Beatles and Everly Brothers on the opening “C’mon Let’s Go!” His lyrics haven’t yearned so dearly and his voice hasn’t sounded this unbridled since he sang “Rock ‘n’ Roll Girl” and “Walking Out on Love” thirty years ago. Collins and Eric Blakely’s guitars rumble and sting, Jim Diamond’s bass and Dave Shettler’s drums propel, and the vocal harmonies and backings capture the joy of a summer’s night cruise with the windows down and the radio up.
Shettler adds tympani to “Many Roads to Follow,” and with the duet harmony sung at the top of Collins’ and Blakely’s ranges, they conjure the deep teen emotions of the Brill Building. Given his track record, it’s not really surprising that Collins still has great albums in him, but that he so effortlessly reaches back to the sounds he helped coin in the mid-70s (and whose invention he details in “Kings of Power Pop”), and it’s inspiring that he finds such satisfying ways to use the wear in his voice. Particularly noteworthy is how easily he matches Alex Chilton’s gravelly tone on a cover of the Box Tops’ 1967 hit “The Letter,” and how beautifully he covers the Flamin’ Groovies’ “You Tore Me Down.” The heartbreak of his original “Hurting’s on My Side” is rendered in the sort of ragged-voiced emotion John Lennon shouted out in 1964. Anyone who loves the Nerves EP and the Beat’s albums (particularly the debut) should grab a copy of this one ASAP. – Hyperbolium

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