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Jamie Hoover And Bill Lloyd - Paparazzi

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 12 / 4 / 2004

Jamie Hoover And Bill Lloyd - Paparazzi
Label: Paisley Pop
Format: CD


"Defining power pop album" from two of the genre's leading lights, Jamie Hoover and Bill Lloyd, which seems likely " to be used as a gauge for all future jangly guitar pop albums"

Hands start shaking and the heart beats faster when these two names are put together. To say that Jamie Hoover and Bill Lloyd are leading lights in the melodic power pop field would be an obvious statement to anyone with the slightest interest in the genre. Ringing guitars, sunshine harmonies and tunes which have dropped down from heaven into their hands are a given to any record bearing their names. The duo play all the instruments on this record apart from the drums which are handled by Dennis Diken from the Smithereens, an inspired choice if ever there was one. Space prevents us from detailing the background to this highly acclaimed duo. If jangly guitar pop is not your thing then this album is not going to appeal to you. If it is then you will already know all there is to know about Hoover and Lloyd. This is quite possibly the best power pop album ever. And with their pedigree that’s no surprise. One glance at the CD gives it all away; the phrase "it does what it says on the box" has never been more apt. The actual CD label is a replica of an old vinyl album, the track listing on the reverse of the CD inlay has the songs listed as side one and side two and this all reflects the fact that the music unashamedly has its roots in those glorious sounds of the 60's and early 70's. That’s a problem I have with reviews of power pop albums like this. though It’s always the same old groups wheeled out as influences; the Beatles, Big Star, the Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Searchers and more recently XTC and Jellyfish. Now I’m not about to say that the likes of Lloyd and Hoover are not influenced by those groups, there are undeniable traces (but that’s all they are; traces) of all of those artists in this album, but having lived through that music I can’t hear any significant sounds of the Beatles or any of those groups in these songs. I can’t imagine any of these songs gracing a Beatles album, ‘Really Not Alone’ is the closest to a Beatles sound but it would take a good stretch of the imagination to imagine it on a Fab Four album. I’d like to know what songs Hoover got that distinctive guitar sound on because none spring to mind. If we have to get pedantic about it a more honest comparison would be of Elvis Costello fronting any obscure pop-sike group of the era. One listen to the opening ‘Show And Tell’ confirms this. A melody to die for, ringing guitars, a sneering Costello vocal and a production which sounds like Phil Spector had his hands on the board somewhere during the recording. ‘It Could Have Been You’ is possibly the only song that could have come straight off an album from any of those groups but even then it would have to be Roger McGuinn’s excellent ‘Back From Rio’ album from 1991 and not from the 60's. The point is that the impression might be gained that Lloyd and Hoover are just 60's copyists from some reviews and that is so far from the truth. I love the sounds from the 60's more than the next guy, but not all of it was good. The best sounds for the most part have been hidden away until recently and are finally only now available on the glut of obscure 60's compilations which increases by the week. What the likes of Hoover and Lloyd do (and do extremely well) is take inspiration from those sounds rather than recycle them. They use the past rather than get eaten by it. They inject those sounds with imagination and a certain originality which makes all the difference. They run through all types of power pop on these twelve songs. Power Pop is not all “let’s see who can get to the end of the song first”; there are a number of ballads on the album. ‘As You Were’ is a beautiful acoustic based dream like ballad to a lost love with background vocals Brian Wilson would be proud of before the gorgeous lead guitar comes in. ‘I Can’t Take It Back’ is another ballad with a chorus which sneaks up on you after the darkness of the verses. Not as immediate as the other songs it does take a few plays to sink in which is unusual with Lloyd and Hoover songs but once that chorus gets under the skin it will have to be surgically removed. A defining power pop album and one that is going to be used as a gauge for all future jangly guitar pop albums. Although doing sterling work away from each other (and the word workaholic could have been made for these two musicians) let’s hope that it’s not too long until they hook up again together and deliver another set of outstanding songs like these.

Track Listing:-
1 Show and Tell the World
2 Better Left Alone
3 Screen Time
4 As You Were
5 The Bucks Stop Here
6 I Can't Take It Back
7 Really Not Alone
8 Still Not over You
9 All She Wanted
10 Walking Out
11 It Could Have Been Me
12 Fireflies

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