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Teen Bop Dream

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Album Review

Saying that the Soda Pop Kids love their pre-punk/post-punk power pop isn't simply a description but a raison d’être — opening track "Saturday Every Day" starts with an overt Bay City Rollers nod and then shifts into a track worthy of BCR celebrator Nick Lowe. Not for nothing is one of the bandmembers wearing a Stiff Records T-shirt in the cover image. On its second album, the Portland quintet delivers precisely what is expected of it, continuing the spirit of its debut, Write Home, with another ten songs of the same spirit. If the results aren't as just plain great as they were with their fellow Oregonians, the late and lamented Exploding Hearts, Teen Bop Dream is good, rough, trashy fun. A slew of different eras of eternal teenagerdom are packed into one place — '50s cool, '70s disaffection, '80s obsessions (thus "Fell in Love at the Arcade"), and a 21st century pureeing of all of that in one place. Singer Jonny P. Jewels sounds like he would have ruled the roost during Beserkley's glory period, while the band happily tackles everything from country shuffles of a sort ("The Ballad of Ranch Hand Rivera") to more straightforward rockers with aplomb. Perhaps the best song also has the best title — a classic late-'50s slow swing of a holiday-themed tearjerker with sharp guitar spike called "Another Cigarette Ends." When the spoken word break kicks in and Jonny gets backed with a wordless chorus of "Silent Night," it's a stellar moment.

Teen Bop Dream, The Soda Pop Kids
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