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Pollyanna

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Album Review

With a style that calls to mind Ed Harcourt and Neil Finn, Wes Cunningham has a sweet and soft melodic pop formula that works wonders on "Only You Know." Although the track opens up with a healthy dose of keyboards, the electric guitars and tight pop arrangements start with the chorus. The track also has a lot of similarities to Ben Kweller, ending with a large Beatles circa-Sgt. Pepper's feeling. "Good Good Feeling" builds on this momentum. Harmonies are strong here also, but at times the guitars sound a bit too polished. "I Love Elanor" harks back to Crowded House with a gorgeous lullaby ballad about showing love for a girlfriend. "The world needs to know how much I love her," Cunningham sings over an acoustic guitar. Influences such as XTC and the Gin Blossoms are littering this pop album, especially on the infectious and cavity-inducing "Shoot Straight." "Your Last Kiss" is perhaps the album's shining moment, alternating between a piano ballad and a harder and edgier, guitar-oriented track. One of the positives regarding Cunningham is his economical approach to writing, resembling at times Ron Sexsmith in saying a lot with few words. "I Fall for Her (Over and Over)" isn't as strong as it should be and comes across as a bit too soppy. Thankfully, "No Justice" returns to form with a rhythm section that blends keyboards with electric guitar that sounds like a softer Collective Soul. A spacy pop feeling on "Now or Never" doesn't work as well as it should, perhaps because the track sounds a bit aimless. "Who Was I" has an ambient tone to it, but everything fits better here for some reason. It's a song Ben Folds would have a difficult time passing up. The final "Glory" is a perfect complement to XTC's Apple Venus, Pt. 1. Fans of smart, highbrow pop will find no fault with this album.

Biography

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '90s

Quirky singer/songwriter Wes Cunningham was born in the Philippines and raised in Texas, where he grew up listening to his parents' Beatles and Beach Boys records. Through college, Cunningham made home recordings of many of his compositions, shopping them to various record companies upon graduation. He eventually secured a contract...
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Pollyanna, Wes Cunningham
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