The Shazam, Godspeed The Shazam (1999)

I'm a big sucker for power pop.  If anything, this has been exacerbated in recent years, where diminished attention spans and complacency have left me with a little less patience for more challenging and difficult music.  Give me three chords on a crunchy or jangly guitar, an adherence to the strictures laid down by McCartney and Big Star, and a chorus that embeds itself in my brain, and I'm good.

The problem with a lot of albums in the genre is that, while countless bands can craft that one really great single, filling an album with 40 minutes of equally infectious music proves beyond the capabilities of a lot of artists.  Which is why Godspeed The Shazam is such a treat.  The ratio of winners to losers is unusually high; the album doesn't lose any steam until maybe the very end, and even the weaker tracks are perfectly fine.  Plus, there's an unusual amount of stylistic variety among the songs, the binding feature being the barrage of killer hooks.

While you've got some straight-out sugar-coated pop here ("RU Receiving," "Calling Sydney"), there is a healthy dose of glam and a bit of hard rock to keep the energy up, offering a lot more variety than one might associate with the genre.  It's a little reminiscent of mid-70s Sweet, one of the great bands of my childhood.  So you've got the rousingly anthemic "Sunshine Tonight," the cheerfully complex nonsense of "Chipper Cherry Daylily," and the menacing bombast of "City Smasher," which sounds darkly metallic yet cleverly weaves in a little Jan & Dean. 

It's an album perfectly designed for sunny days with the windows down and the volume up.

Not a video-friendly band, so we'll have to settle for an album capture on YouTube:


Buy it on Amazon.