Expectations are funny things. From the early video release of the David Myhr track "Got You Where He Wanted" and the appearance of "Loveblind" on last year's International Pop Overthrow comp I felt I knew exactly what to expect from the full release.
Then I put the album on and was greeted by a very slick (and very poppy) tune straight out of the 1980's. In fact, "Never Mine" has an air of Hall & Oates about it. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, but it definitely wasn't what I was expecting. (I remember having a similar experience putting on Jellyfish's Bellybutton for the first time. "The Man I Used To Be" was a shock going into the album knowing/expecting "That Is Why" and "The King Is Half Undressed".) Of course, that is kinda the point when listening to a whole album (and something that is sadly getting lost in this age of digital downloads.) Over the course of 10-12 songs an artist can take us where they want to go, and if, at first, the listener finds himself in unfamiliar territory I've found its best to just relax and enjoy the ride.
Soundshine is quite the excellent ride.
Myhr, as if sensing a comforting sound might help those who already know some of his work, quickly moves into the lush Merrymakers pop of "Looking For A Life," which really is the only track here that would fit seamlessly on an album such as Bubblegun. The aforementioned "Got You Where He Wanted" and "Loveblind" stake out an uptempo pop vibe which would have to be described as more "indie" than "power pop," but which fit the material perfectly.
Other stand out tracks include the McCartney-esque pair "The One" and "Ride Along" and the stunning "Don't Say No," which is in the running for my favorite tune of the year so far with its Harrison-esque melody line and sing song chorus. In fact I may have to stop writing this review to listen to it again.....
O.K.... I'm back. (And, yes, I really did.)
In fact the closest thing to a real misstep here is the song "Icy Tracks" which is so chock full of juicy pop hooks it can be forgiven if Part A of the chorus is a little "blah" compared to Part B.
If one goes into this album hoping for another Merrymakers album it will probably disappoint. However, if you are open to where a talented songwriter wants to take you I promise you will love the journey.