Warm, downy, melodic pop, is making something of a comeback, in the lower echelons of the ‘kingdom of cool’ of late. Acts such as Super 8, KiDD and Charity Shop Pop have been courting much love among those of us who spend way too much time trawling the digital bargain bins of Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Spotify.
The John Sally Ride, a three piece from New York consisting of John Dunbar (Confederacy of Dunces), Sal Maida (Osaka Popstar and Roxy Music) and drummer Sal Nunziato, sit extremely snugly into such company.
Essentially this band weave three aesthetics into an album that grows upon the listener with each listen. Initially there are genuine pop nuggets that exude all manner of 60’s and 70’s pop melodies. Tracks such as Nothing Doing, I Usually Eat alone (see below) and I Love You, Minnie Moore are unpretentious in providing what we all love about adult pop music…plenty of hooks, sweet vocals and bouncy melodies.
It is not a drastic move to the album’s next musical aesthetic, as tracks such as I Won’t Let Failure Go To My Head, Watching Fingers and All Or Something provide deliciously fragile power-pop, that only ‘just about’ flops out of pop and into power-pop territory. Such tracks are all held together by jangled riffs that tether any pretense towards real aggression.
Unsurprisingly from this old jangle-head, the best tracks on the album are those with increased usage of jangle-pop riffs, with Embarrassingly Single, You Wear Your Heart on Both Sleeves and Don’t Flatter Yourself (see below), being extremely reminiscent of the fluttering, slightly tinny riffs of early 80’s janglers The Chesterfield Kings.
Absolutely superb stuff from a band that wear their influences proudly on their sleeves.