About Me

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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

THE SUPERS: Spklanng!

My review of Spklanng! by The Supers appeared in the May 4th, 2001 issue of Golldmine. My apologies for the weird formatting (the result of cutting and pasting from another website).

The Supers


Permanent Press (PPCD 52716)

Man, if one of these tunes doesn't get played on the radio, then there's
simply no damned hope for pop music anymore. It's an unfortunate fact of
life nowadays that the vision of pop music championed by fans of melodic
rock n' roll is rarely actually popular. Reviled by smug critics who
wouldn't know a decent hook if it roughed 'em up and left 'em for dead and
ignored by an indifferent public that simply doesn't know, pure pop has
become, incongruously, a cult taste. It's being played to an insular
audience that can't fathom why this stuff isn't as massively popular as its
proud POP! label implies it should be. It means that a lot of fine pop
records, eminently worthy of a wider audience, remain largely unheard by all
but a discerning few of the faithful.

Here's hoping The Supers break out of that whole thing. On the band's
debut album Spklanng!, the Toronto-based group shows an easy command of
classic pop style, without seeming the least bit retro. Originally issued in
Canada last year (the U.S. version differs by two tracks) , the deceptively
mild-mannered Spklanng! fights a never-ending battle for truth , justice and
the rockin' -pop way. At the risk of belaboring the comic-book analogy, it
must be said that The Supers' efforts border on the heroic.

The lead-off track, "Secret," is tailor-made for contemporary hit
radio:while that could certainly be interpreted as a slam, given CHR's
current penchant for bland boy "bands," "Secret" is a perfectly inviting,
mid-tempo gem that merits some serious mainstream airplay. "Turn," "I Don't
Want to Sleep" and "A Stitch in Time" are similarly radio-ready, with
"Turn", in particular adding considerable oomph to the mix. "So Many Crooks,
" "Luck and Skill" and "Pill", while perhaps not ideal singles, add to the
overall vibe of a pleasant, engaging record that anyone with a fondness for
hooks 'n' harmonies would want to investigate.

Spklanng! does threaten to drag a bit in the middle, as the back-to-back
play of "Only You" and "1+1=3" slows the proceedings down to a sleepwalk.
But even "Only You" has a subtle undercurrent of buoyancy that lifts it
above Backstreet Boys status. It's enough to restore your faith in pop
music. Maybe it's even enough to restore the pop to popular music. Get these
guys on the radio, where they belong.

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