From the Krautrockin’ opener, Ambulance City, through the Dinosaur Jr-esque Through All The Worry and on through Sell Your Souls’ Wilco/Drive-By Truckers vibe it’s clear that Stephen McBean’s one-man-band-with-guests wants to delight across a range of rock and power-pop styles in his attempt to, er, Get Back. The Canadian musician (also of Black Mountain) has plenty of tricks up his sleeve here – as on North Hollywood Microwaves where Giant Drag’s Annie Hardy plays a sort of Kim Deal/Kathleen Hanna role as McBean traces around Damon Albarn-in-Gorillaz-mode.
It’s a frenetic, heady trip of an album – but the fact that every song has a pop-rock heart, can be reduced down to a key moment where the song in fact ‘pops’ saves this from turning toward indulgence, rescues it from ever sounding scribbled into place or messy. In fact it’s all been meticulously drafted – stopping just short (sometimes) of crafted.
It isn’t so much a case of arriving late to this (it’s nearly a year old now) as it is remembering to, um, get back to it. There’s a lot here to please – hints of punk (Sixteen), the thrills of Costello-esque pop chiming along inside of Tweedy-type lines (New Teenage Mutilation) and those Psychedelic Furs/Bunnymen-like post-punk moments too (Shakedown).
A clever omnivore with some decent helpers. And that’s the recipe right there – the result, an album you should have in your collection.