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Curiouser

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Album Review

Power pop is fundamentally music written for the radio that nowadays plays nowhere near the radio. The talented Doug Powell handles multiple instruments and technical aspects, but more importantly writes simple pop songs. For Curiouser, Powell recorded "flaws and warts" onto an eight track and released the raw product in an attempt to emulate the freshness and excitement of spontaneity and creation. Surprisingly, Curiouser is not raucous or noisy, but a solid pop record. The sound is fine and the songs are well-structured enough to avoid that demo rip-off feeling. If the liner notes didn't indicate the rudiments of this experiment, none would be the wiser. Of course the project reeks of evil-genius Todd Rundgren, but the tunes are unmistakably Powell's. "Just Like Montgomery Cliff" shares a strange celebrity fascination with the Clash. Powell's former Nashville neighbor, Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson, helps out on "When She Awoke" (later laid down with the rest of Swag). The great piece "Torn" also graces the excellent Nashpop collection. "Cross My Heart" exudes pure obsessive romanticism: paralyzing and fascinating. Sometimes Powell's forlorn feeling recalls Freedy Johnston, but with better vocals. Curiouser actually gets better as it rolls. Don't see Doug Powell shooting up the charts, and of course he deserves much more credit than he'll ever get, but, in a perfect world, he rides the top of the pops.

Biography

Born: Oklahoma

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A protégé of Todd Rundgren, Doug Powell is a more straightforward musician than his muse, more along the lines of XTC's Andy Partridge. Like Rundgren, Powell had a run of bad luck with record companies early in his career, but it's easier to carve out a place for oneself away from the major labels than it was in the late '60s...
Full bio
Curiouser, Doug Powell
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