Caraway has chosen a great title for this album as he manages to unleash a force force gale of tuneful powerpop on this release. It’s a good thing, too, as power pop seems to be the bastard stepchild of the music world and anyone releasing a power pop album seemingly has to have an album of quality head and shoulders above anyone else in order to get noticed. You can thank The Beatles for that. As much as musicians (and music fans in general) adore those delightful mop-topped lads, they set the bar so exceedingly high it has been hard for artists and bands who consider themselves like-minded musically to make much of an impact. Bands like Badfinger, The Raspberries, and Big Star (just to name three) were all stellar acts who received comparatively little to no love thanks to their devotion to short songs will brilliantly melodic verses and extremely catchy choruses. Those pesky Beatles had done it already, so there! Not too mention making it look so easy, any really catchy song is dismissed as bubblegum and may be heralded for awhile (“My Sharona” or, more recently, “Stacy’s Mom”) but then regarded as a mere novelty and only remembered jokingly.
Thankfully for those who love their rock and roll with a little bit of energy and melodic bite, Caraway does as good as anyone I’ve heard at overcoming these inherent shortcomings within the genre, though, hell, why don’t we just call it “music” and do away with all of the stigma, shall we? With a sharp set of songs and some brilliant vocalising (and a very good set of backing musicians) Caraway acquits himself very well on this album, his first. It is as a songwriter that Caraway’s talent shines brightest, however. With pithy, terse statements and a writer’s gift for minute detail Caraway manages to be insightful yet also breezy and fun. Musically, the album straddles the line between rock and lite pop, somewhere between John Mayer with less guitar and more keyboard and the band Maroon 5 with less studio sheen and more rock and roll spirit.
I like this album and look forward to hearing from work from Caraway. Great songwriters are hard to find. Caraway sounds like he’s got the stuff and, after a few more albums, should be making some incendiary music if he keeps it up. Let’s hope he does. To make sure he stays with it, it’s up to us: buy this album!