The way that bands and solo musicians present themselves has changed considerably over the years. When I began my life as a professional critic, the year was 2004, and I was writing a weekly music column for The Kenosha (Wi) News. It was an honest-to-goodness local newspaper, printed on smudgy newsprint and was delivered, primarily, by being thrown on porches and lawns across Kenosha County.
In 2004, record labels and artists alike sent in what was known as a press kit. It usually came in a folder, and included a band photo, bio, CD, and occasionally a sticker or pin. As the years rolled by, the physical press kit morphed into the online press kit. It wouldn’t be too long, before that, too, disappeared completely. These days, most requests for press come in the form of an email with a link, where the actual music can be downloaded.
It’ll probably come as no surprise that twenty years after penning that first review for The Kenosha News, I prefer the old-fashioned way. I’m a tactile human being, and to me, holding the product in my hands and reading every little album credit, really enhances the overall experience. I’d forgotten that, until The Pozers’ press kit for Crybaby Bridge arrived.
Their CD, Crybaby Bridge, came in a shiny silver folder, complete with promo one-sheet, band photo, bio, and a nice cover letter. This band had me in their corner before I even heard a single note of their music.
Jim Richey formed the band in Texas in 1994, and this new release, coincidentally, carries a decidedly 90’s vibe. By that, however, I don’t mean to say that it sounds dated. Rather, Richey and his bandmates have hit upon a nifty retro-rock sound that, similarly to Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, Matthew Sweet and Jellyfish, combines the writing chops of Lennon & McCartney with a jagged, modern guitar sound. If you like that sort of thing (I do), Crybaby Bridge hits all of the right notes.
The opener, Goodbye (I’m Gone), is a crunchy Pepper-inspired number, complete with bouncy bassline and an irresistable chorus. Heck, there’s even a middle 8 before the solo that’s catchy enough to be the chorus of a complete different song. The slinky Two sounds like a more melodic I Am The Walrus, and the bouncy The Only Girl might be mistaken for a Lennon outtake from Rubber Soul.
Telling My Secrets is a real power pop stunner, crispy as all-get-out, and chock-full of muscular rhythm guitars, just this side of fuzzy. Teenage Storybook is more top-notch power pop, with some very nice rhythmic injection.
While all of this record’s eleven tracks are worthy of consumption, the closer, So Long, in ascending Jellyfish mode. Buoyed by pumping bass and teenage harmonies, it’s a pop celebration that’s not to be missed. I don’t hear many fantastic tunes these days, and this track is FANTASTIC.
In short, The Pozers are doing everything an indie rock band can do right. From their excellent press kit (presentation, kids!) to the obvious care taken in songwriting and recording, this band is now firmly one of my favorites. Their music is available in all of the regular places, and they are more than worthy of your patronage. Buy Crybaby Bridge and ENJOY!
By Dan Pavelich