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Wishing for Boardwalk

Red Umbrella

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Album Review

With '90s power pop influences in tow, Canadian rockers Red Umbrella have concocted a winning formula of crunchy new wave splendor. Fans of the Posies, Semisonic, and Fountains of Wayne now have a reason to live again, thanks to the delightful melodic pop on Wishing for Boardwalk. The boys have been compared to Coldplay, but all the Brit-pop sound-alikes in the universe could not muster the peppy confidence that lead vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Michaelis evokes with each note. For instance, the hook-filled "Home" sounds like it could have been lifted straight from Oasis' hit collection Stop the Clocks, complete with a piano hook bigger than Noel Gallagher's ego. But rather than sport a revivalist sound, Red Umbrella come off with a triumphantly new sonic mix that puts them in the same ballpark as the Killers. Crunchy guitars lead the first single, "Straitjacket" an open-ended query as to the meaning of life. Other winning tracks include "Run," "What About Me?," and "Slide." The grungy power pop of late-career Posies makes Boardwalk a charming effort through and through. Particularly heard during the iTunes era when a generation of listeners can pick and choose single songs without ever really digesting a full album's worth of music from the same artist, Boardwalk is an achievement of consistent — and sometimes even brilliant — rock & roll.

Wishing for Boardwalk, Red Umbrella
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