Godspeed The Shazam

First, there were [B]The Beatles[/B]....

First, there were The Beatles. The Beatles begat power-pop legends like [a]Big Star[/a], Cheap Trick, The Raspberries, who in turn begat the likes of The Posies, Matthew Sweet and Cotton Mather. Nashville‘s The Shazam are a heady mixture of all the above, with an amped-up crunch all their own. Their second album, ‘Godspeed The Shazam’, is 40 minutes of hair-shaking, heavily melodic pop reverie, the glorious sound of Americans-singing-like-Brits-singing-like-Americans.

“That retro-’60s garbage is, like, so 1995,” snipes the cynic at the back in the DHR hoody, and he [I]almost[/I] has a point. Except The Shazam riddle their Anglo-flavoured mod-rock with enough spirit and polished tunesmithery to forever banish dullard Britpop nightmares from your minds.

The Shazam never once stoop to affectionate pastiche or academic exercise. The 12 songs contained here are faultless cocktails of killer hooks, unforgettable melodies and chord changes that can shatter hearts at 20 paces. The desolate ‘The Stranded Stars’ could easily nestle alongside Eric Carmen‘s ‘All By Myself’ and ELO‘s ‘Out Of My Head’. ‘RU Receiving’ dapperly marries glam-strut to stoner melodicism with magical results, while ‘Gonna Miss Yer Train’ goes all Faces on us, laying dirty funk under the angelic harmonies.

No mere retro whimsy, ‘Godspeed…’ is a breathless dash through 30-odd years of pop, too fiery and focussed to be some dusty museum piece. Like the good old days. Only better.

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