Jason Falkner: Presents Author Unknown (1996)

While the broad "power pop" genre represents a sizable chunk of my collection, there aren't a lot of albums I'd list among my favorites.  I think by definition, the genre is geared more towards individual songs than extended works, making many great power pop artists better represented by an anthology than a studio LP.  Obviously there are exceptions, artists like Matthew Sweet and Fountains of Wayne and Teenage Fanclub (and of course Big Star) who manage 40 minutes of impeccable music; but I think those are the exception.

One artist who has managed a few great works is Jason Falkner, though he has proven less prolific than fans might hope.  He started out with brief tenures in Paisley Underground band The Three O'Clock and complex baroque pop band Jellyfish, and more recently has been more prevalent collaborating with others.  But in the 90s he had a few really sweet albums of his own.

His first, Presents Author Unknown, is really quite winning from start to finish, chiming guitar-driven pop that ranges from rockers to gentle ballads.  It starts out with a nice run of tunes -- opener "I Live," is a catchy mid-tempo tune; things ratchet up with the infectious riff-driven "Miracle Medicine," the sort of thing that should have been a killer 90s alt.rock hit in a just universe; and then hits it home with the slightly quirky but total earwig "Hectified," one of those songs that magically starts playing in my head from time to time even 20+ years after first hearing it.  Elsewhere you've got the similarly upbeat "Miss Understanding," catchy as all hell; and the Dandy Warhols-like groove of "Follow Me"; not to mention low-key but lovely ballads like the closing "Untitled" track.

Oddly enough, there is no "Author Unknown" here; that song would be the highlight of 1999's Can You Still Feel, an album that's nearly as solid. 

If your tastes run anywhere from Matthew Sweet to XTC, Falkner's your kind of guy, give him a shot.

Here's an audio rip of "Miracle Medicine":
...and an audio rip of "Miss Understanding":
Here's a live take on "Hectified":

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