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Mister Pop

The Clean

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Album Review

If the Clean were motivated by anything other than a seemingly pure love of music, Mister Pop would have been a very different album. Since the last time the band made a record, scores of new bands have discovered the awesome early work the Clean recorded back in the '80s and have incorporated the raw, scratchy, and energetic feel of those records into their sound. The group could have easily tried to capitalize on its newfound icon status and made an album that harked back to its early years. No one would have blamed them for cashing in; nobody would have begrudged them a few minutes of near fame. Instead, the band — still the brothers Kilgour (David and Hamish) and Robert Scott — have made a laid-back, hazy, and thickly psychedelic album that sounds more like something the band might have made in the '90s. This is not a bad thing at all, because while not as influential, they made very good albums during that era. The songs on Mister Pop range from dreamy pop ("Are You Really on Drugs?") to instrumental motorik jams ("Moonjumper") to folky meditations ("All Those Notes") and back to strummy pop ("Back in the Day"). It also contains at least two songs that would make it on a mythical Best of the Clean LP: "In the Dream Life U Need a Rubber Soul," a slice of modern pop so heavenly and sweet that it should be sent to Jeff Lynne as a lesson on how to make modern pop without over-sweetening; and the driving Krautrocker "Tensile," which features some nice vocodered vocals and a little bit of the texture of their early records. Apart from these standout tracks, it's a solid album that shows off the individual members' songwriting skills and holds together very well as a display of smart and savvy modern pop. If you're looking for the old Clean, you might be disappointed, but if you are looking for good Clean, Mister Pop will be just what you need.

Biography

Formed: 1978

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Clean were one of the most influential New Zealand bands of the post-punk era. The band formed in the town of Dunedin in 1978, when Hamish Kilgour (drums) and his brother David (guitar) recruited David's school friend, guitarist Peter...
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