Usually it works like this: some band or their PR flack emails me to say "Hey, I saw that you posted about [band x], well maybe you'll like [our shitty band]." The reality is that [our shitty band] sounds nothing like [band x] and I get angry and delete the email.
However, this time when I got an email from Andrea Perry saying that her band, Pop4, sounded like Pugwash and the New Pornographers, she wasn't lying. There was not an ounce of PR bullshit in her email so I thank her for getting in touch. The tunes of Pop4 are some of the brightest slices of pop I've heard in ages. Blending bits of ELO ("Einstein and Sunshine") and Aimee Mann (the wonderfully-titled "Miserably Pursuing Happiness"), the music of Pop4 is a revelation. These tunes touch on all the things I liked already but somehow the songs still sound new and vibrant.
On The Feeling-like "Straight to my Head", there's even a twang-y hint of the best moments of Jellyfish. That tune segues into the marvelously self-aware "You're No Aimee Mann" which manages to out Jon Brion Jon Brion himself. Funny, smart, and altogether perfect, the song is the sort of thing that makes a listener such as myself a bit angry at not having heard this band and song before now. I heard this and wanted to lay my hands on everything that Pop4 have done, you know?
"Lover's Limbo" even nods in the direction of college rock legends Let's Active, while "Tour for the Brokenhearted" imagines an impossible Nilsson/Jon Brion collaboration.
And I haven't even mentioned the fact that this record is the result of the four members -- Andrea Perry, Scott McPherson, Kirk Adams, and KC Bowman -- recording their parts separately. That sounds like a gimmick but it's worth mentioning because you'd almost never believe me when you listen to Summer. What's on this album is the sound of one of the best new American bands I've heard in quite some time. That they did this without actually meeting in person is even more astonishing.
Summer by Pop4 is sure to charm fans of Jeff Lynne, Brian Wilson, Neko Case, Jellyfish, and Jon Brion. The tunes here are big and catchy. The cuts are all carefully crafted and show the hard work of 4 musicians pooling their love of some worthy shared influences in the creation of the very best kind of pop.