President Nixon is still in office, The Beatles are the most innovative band on the planet. And Pro Tools? Just screwdrivers with special attachments. Their home state of Tennessee may be firmly situated on
the spangled leather fringe of modern music, but The Shazam take determined anachronism
one step further – they play
power pop like it’s been sealed in
a time capsule.
There’s a fine line between inspired tribute and airless revivalism, and luckily The Shazam fall into the former camp. They are certainly guilty of nostalgia (they sport unwieldy hairstyles not seen since the days of Van Der Graaf Generator), pastiche (this mini-album features a cover of the Fab Four’s ‘Revolution #9’), and questionable associations (they accepted Paul Weller’s ‘personable invitation’ to support him – kiss of death, see Ocean Colour Scene). Yet they paraphrase The Who’s buoyancy, Big Star’s wistfulness and The Beatles’… well, everything, with such aplomb that it would be churlish to fault them.
“Don’t tell me something’s wrong today” sugar-voiced singer Hans Rotenberry pleads in ‘Okay?’ – and one gets the feeling that exposure to something like ‘Kid A’ might cause the fellow serious damage. Post-millennial angst has as much chance of penetrating The Shazam’s sunny harmonies and instinctive hooks as a dust mite facing a plastic-covered sofa. But if you seek a half-hour holiday to simpler times, ‘Rev 9’ could be just the thing to take you there.