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Less Art, More Pop!

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Album Review

On this, their first independently released album, Jr. Gone Wild presents itself as a four-way songwriting collective torn between frontman Mike McDonald's alt-country leanings, co-frontman David Lawson's whimsical jangle pop, and the '60s-inspired garage pop of bassist Dove and drummer Ed Dobek. Happily, Less Art, More Pop ends up sounding like a cheerfully anarchic blend of all these styles; it's an approach that's genuinely appealing, if somewhat bewildering to anyone expecting the band to choose a genre and stick to it. Lyrically, the band is also all over the map, mixing up goofy love songs ("Martha Quinn"), slacker odes ("Slept All Afternoon," "Old Blue") and deliberately cheesy Merseybeat spoofs ("Why I Hate the Sixties") with more closely observed and serious tunes like "Day of the First Snow" and "Fine Scotch." Everything's played with infectious energy, however, and even at this stage of their career, the bandmembers are paying far more attention to vocal harmonies and solid musicianship than most of their indie rock colleagues. Jr. Gone Wild would subsequently go on to make alt-country albums that received much more serious acclaim than Less Art, More Pop, but they would never make an album that was more sheer unadulterated fun than this one.

Customer Reviews

Essential

If you care about the history of Alt-country music you need this record. it jangles, it twangs and Mike McDonald is a songwriter's songwriter.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Coming out of the same Edmonton scene that spawned punky, power poppy bands like the Pursuit of Happiness and the Wheat Chiefs, ex-Malibu Kens singer/guitarist Mike McDonald formed Jr. Gone Wild in 1983. McDonald, while possessed of the punk-pop ethos, never took himself as seriously as most punks, and on a musical level was more interested in pursuing a deliberately sloppy country-rock fusion inspired by artists such as the (then) deeply unhip Neil...
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Less Art, More Pop!, Jr. Gone Wild
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Customer Ratings

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