Jack & the Beanstalk

Jack & the Beanstalk

Cowboys In Sweden

Parasol

It certainly sounds like someone paid attention to all those Beatles and Big Star albums. Joe Algeri, the man who wrote all the songs on this release (except for the cover of The Dictators’ “Who Will Save Rock n’ Roll?”) is a man well aware of pop music’s lengthy history. From recording tributes to Lee Hazelwood and covering songs by Nancy Sinatra to contributing material to an Australian-based Replacements tribute, this man knows music. On this release, the second from his band, Jack & the Beanstalk, Algeri crafts some of the sweetest pop music around. Hell, even the cover is evocative of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album. Your teeth are bound to ache while listening this album.

The disc opens with “Wilde Hoarse,” and then it moves on into “Two-Sixty-Five.” Both of those tracks are good, but they don’t completely floor you. But the third track, “Raspberry Jam,” is a fine piece of pop craftsmanship. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was listening to a Big Star outtake. Then there is the track “She Drives a Volvo,” another great tune. I also really enjoy the pop nugget “Baby!,” whose entire lyrics consist of the words “baby,” “hey,” and “girl.”

If you are a fan of great pop music, you will definitely not be disappointed with Jack & the Beanstalk. Just remember, this is pop music. If you want to hear something a little more substantive — say, a meta-critique on the phallocentric nature of post industrial society — you might want to look elsewhere (egghead!).

Parasol Records, 905 S. Lynn St., Urbana, IL 61801; http://www.parasol.com, http://www.egomaniac-music.com

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