CD Review: The Webstirs – So Long

Preston Pisellini and Mark Winkler have formed the Webstirs’ backbone for 16 years, and after 2000’s indie-pop gem, “Radio Racket,” they moved on to other projects. Well, after seven long years, Chicago’s Webstirs have roared back to life.

Opening with the wistful piano chords of “Summer Fades” it nods tribute to Brian Wilson’s “Smile” and then blasts into the dual guitar and horn attack of “Wesley Station” that draws from The Jellysfish, Queen and The Posies, and it will have power pop fans pulse racing — amazing melody with a multi-instrumental celebration of sound. Preston and Mark are helped by former Redwalls drummer Jordan Kozer and bassist Charlie Short to round out this excellent album. This continues with “Somewhere To Start” and “So Long” as the party just keeps going, with some great piano support, to the incredible riffs and harmonies.

I was waiting for a low point on this album.. and there isn’t any. “Malaise” is a great Beatlesque romp, with that rolling baseline and Penny Lane era horn arrangements. And that doesn’t mean these guys don’t rock hard either, the next song “Apparition Shine” is an amazing Green Day meets Weezer inspired single that draws together a wall of guitar sound that will sonically mow you down. It’s followed by the ELO-inspired “Big Break” full of rich synths and echoing vocals that Jeff Lynne would be proud of.

On “What Do You Believe” it goes back to both Wilson and Bacharach with it’s gorgeous harmonies and horn flourishes. “Still Drowning” mentions the frustrations of the current state of music industry, and surviving in it. Much of the songs deal with the experiences of the past eight years, and it requires multiple listens to really appreciate it. And the music here doesn’t just have obvious influences, it transcends that to form something unique.

This is what many pop fans have been waiting for all year. The Webstirs have delivered genius. Don’t let this one pass you by.

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