Power-pop is a delicate animal. At times it has been whimpering in the corner and at others it has been a beast, power-fully occupying a sliver of the contemporary mainstream. It’s rock and roll dressed up in pouty boyishness, megalomania and mop-top mullets. Despite its straightforward and simple design, full of guitar and vocal hooks, slick chromatic leads and pretty boy front men, most (if not all) power-pop bands have been doomed to languish in oblivion.
Posthumous acclaim for such bands as The Shoes, Nerves, Plimsouls, Dwight Twilley and Paul Collins may be due to the effect of time, distance and the cyclical nature of fashion. What is it–every twenty years we look back to find the next new nostalgic trend? Do the aforementioned bands have to be appreciated in hind-sight when the effect of nostalgia raises their esteem? The fate of power pop bands has been to die quietly in their time in order to be resurrected decades later.
The mystery surrounding what creates stars, whether in the underground or the mainstream, is a peculiar enigma. Ironically, most of the best guitar pop in the past three decades has fallen on too few ears to really be considered popular by any standard. And so it happens with astounding regularity that I am introduced to some band’s back catalogue that leaves me thinking why it wasn’t embraced unequivocally by their contemporary audiences. I suppose that, because power-pop doesn’t ask for much, it is easy to pass off and disregard as a cheap appeal to your sonic tastebuds. It doesn’t quite demand your attention like more aggro rock and roll, that is snarling and frenetic. But that is exactly the area in which power-pop finds its appeal. It’s not so much about snot rockets and leather boots (though leather boots, don’t hurt.) It’s easy on the ears and goes down like a cold Fresca on a hot summer’s day.
Today we have a serious contingent of bands figuring out their sound and aiming to place it somewhere within the power-pop pantheon. Will it stick or is it doomed to wither and die? Does the question even need answering? No, it really doesn’t. While there are still boys with guitars and girl issues, we will have guitar pop. And there is not a damn thing wrong with that. I am grateful that this is true, because I don’t ever want to get enough of earnestly executed and under-appreciated power-pop hits. Warm Soda did it earlier this year and Burger Records’ Wyatt Blair looks to be the next hit maker.
With two chewy bubble gummy treats available on his bandcamp, Wyatt Blair doesn’t slack on tight catchy songs. Even though both tracks sound identical, if you allow yourself, you will be singing along to “Ba Ba Ba, Life’s a Bitch” and “Sweet Operator.” With a propulsive beat, catchy hooks and efficient song writing, the songs transport you back to sometime when no one knew that punk was going to pull the rug out from underneath Dwight Twilley and Jack Lee & Co. In a rock scene filled with many bands prolifically struggling with what to do next, Blair does his thing right and without pretensions. Scoop up Banana Cream Dream when it comes out May 22 on Burger Records!