Home / Album Reviews / Various Artists: Radio Ready: Wisconsin—Lost Power Pop Hits 1979-1982 (Cheap Reward Records)
Thursday, May 22, 2014

Various Artists: Radio Ready: Wisconsin—Lost Power Pop Hits 1979-1982 (Cheap Reward Records)

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In the late ’70s, power pop was the accessible face of new wave music. With roots in the British Invasion and influenced by bands such as Badfinger and Big Star, power pop’s bright melodies and more polished musicianship appealed, in part, to listeners sometimes put off by its less polite cousin, punk rock. Radio Ready’s well-chosen collection of songs demonstrates Wisconsin’s vibrant power pop scene in the early ’80s.

The genre’s strengths are well displayed. The tuneful Merseybeat of The Pop’s “Wait A Minute,” the radio friendly sheen of The Shivvers’ “No Substitute” and Spooner’s catchy “You’re The Lucky One” exemplify the melodic sensibility of the best power pop. And, while the late Milwaukee legend Jerome Brish might have bristled over labeling his reboot of The Haskels “power pop,” the band’s inclusion shows power pop’s tent could house harder-edged bands.

Power pop had its weaknesses. Energy often substituted for passion, style frequently trumped substance, but Radio Ready’s finest songs remind us that while power pop was never a true musical meal, it could be counted on to provide a pretty pleasant snack.

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