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Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Starter Jackets - Dead Malls


When I reviewed Starter Jackets' splendid Fucked It Up For Everyone in 2020, I mentioned the difference in Lanny Durbin and Luke McNeill's songwriting. The former was in Power Pop, the latter more melodic Garage Punk. 

I did expect great things from the Dayton Ohio quartet and Dead Malls doesn't disappoint. The album feels far more Power Pop, but their Punk Pop roots haven't been forgotten particularly on songs like No Good Deed and In Smithereens, but largely the format is a much better produced alternative to UK peers, The Speedways.

That production is the icing on the cake that makes this a real contender for Power Pop album of the year. A great batch of 10 songs packed full of riffs, big choruses and hooks and bursting out with melody, this is what the genre should be like. For all my love of Lo Fi, there is no greater listen than this loud melodic Guitar Pop.

From the opening Outer Reaches to the closing Just Want Out there is no let up in quality. There is no room for ballads or a wish to slow down, everything is done at pace. The album can be fairly compared with the great 90's Wave of Power Pop and Pop Rock.

The title track is straight from the New Wave of the late 70s with anthemic Guitar solos and On My Feet is riff-orama at its very best. There is no front loading here, the album gets better and better as it progresses. The best song may be Track 7 with Crush Me Up.

Deep Cuts has an Only Ones like riff and Just Want Out jangles out 1979 UK New Wave at ease. Dead Malls is a wonderful joyful listen that will remind you of why Power Pop can be the most uplifting, feel good genre around. A wish to both serenade and rock you is stamped across this fine fine album.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


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