The musical genre commonly known as "Powerpop" is without doubt the cruellest area to start a band, never mind make a successful career from it. The song writing skills required for the genre mean years of careful honing on "Elvis Costello" and "Raspberries" albums and for every "Cheap Trick" success story you will be more than likely to follow the sad trail of grossly overlooked bands such as "Jellyfish" or "Sugerbomb".
So it is to Butch Walkers credit that here he is, solo album number 3 (4 if you include his Cover Me Badd EP) and still on a major label. After a career spanning the cock rock of "Southgang" through the legendary Powerpop of "The Marvelous 3" to where he is nearly 20 years later a respected producer and songwriter for the likes of "Pink", "Bowling For Soup" and "American Hi-Fi", I'm sure you will agree that for a 38-year-old fella, that is one hell of a resume.
So to his latest shot of glamtastic pop via "The Rise and Fall Of...". 13 tracks of pure pop heaven that make the sun shine through your blinds on a cold autumnal day and chase the blues away from the most down of life's tortuous moments. Lead track "Hot Girls In Good Moods" is all "T Rex" in everything but the feather boa, whilst the absurdly title "Ladies and Gentlemen The Let Me Go Out Tonites" recalls the wonders of "Andy Sturmer" and "Jellyfish", and that measure of musical diversity is just the opening 2 tracks.
And from there on things get all "Cars-y" on "Bethampehtamine (Pretty Pretty)" before returning to the glam pop stomp along of "Too Famous To Get Fully Dressed" that oddly reminds me of 80's wankers Aztec Camera in places (but don't let that put you off).
As with Butch's other albums we also get his melancholic side and on here we get his "Joe Jackson-esque" tribute via "Dominoes" and the subliminally catchy "We're All Going Down".
The album as with most in the genre is a grower and tracks that I didn't like after 1 or 2 listens are now amongst my favourites. Step forward the almost "Cure-like" swagger of "Paid Top Get Excited" and hoe down line dancing mama of a track "Rich People Die Unhappy".
In short if you are a fan of well-produced and intelligently constructed pop music then look no further than this album. It is sickly sweet and painfully melancholic, all captured within a lovingly constructed flesh bound sleeve. Invigorating stuff for the cold winter evenings to come.
by Johnny H.
Visit the Butch Walker and the Lets Go Out Tonites Website