The Power of Pop

Shut Eye

Atlanta is not generally known as a power pop breeding ground, but Nillah may well change that. Featuring the vocals and bass of Elisabeth Eickhoff, guitarist Greg Gentry, and drummer Jeff Dehner, the trio’s newest release is a picture perfect example of how to make great pop records: Keep it simple and make sure it sounds good. Both seem easy, but anyone who has ever tried knows exactly how difficult moderation can be. The Power of Pop doesn’t waste notes — in particular, Eickhoff’s bass complements the guitar instead of just doubling it (she sounds a bit like McCartney, to tell the truth), the guitars swirl convincingly, sounding at moments like the vintage Cure/Church chime sound and able to carry off the required late ’70s muffled hand strumming that fans of Marshall Crenshaw to The Romantics all recognize. The songs are quick, intelligent, and thankfully free of the clichéd gestures that seem all too prevalent in most pop music created by women — in other words, Nillah doesn’t sound like a K-Tel version of The Ramones. The final cut, the acoustic “The Ghost Again,” could well appear on a Matthew Sweet album one day, and makes good use of the harmonizing of Eickhoff and Gentry. For everyone who thinks Atlanta is only home to such folks as Collective Soul or Marvelous 3, rest assured, we can do better. Nillah is the proof.

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