Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review: Gavin Guss "Mercury Mine"

Whether you realize it or not, if you are a devout fan of modern power pop, you've already heard Gavin Guss in some way, shape, or form. Gavin Guss has been active in the Seattle power pop scene for years, as producer of the fantastic Super Deluxe, and as front man for TubeTop and The Tycoons. He's toured with Nada Surf, and provided piano accompaniment for Jon Auer (Posies), Fountains of Wayne, and Harvey Danger.

Six long years in the making, Guss has released "Mercury Mine", his first solo record. Featuring an amazing line up of guest performances from Chris Ballew (Presidents of the United States of America), Brian Young (Fountains of Wayne), and Phil Hurley (Gigolo Aunts), "Mercury Mine" is simply a power pop lover's dream. Name dropping aside, Guss holds his own and more by bringing a healthy number of tuneful songs to the table.

The record, which clocks in just over 30 minutes, is loaded with short and sweet pop songs that are very easy on the ears. Vocally and musically, Guss reminds me a lot of Mike Viola, or David Gray (Idle Wilds). The lyrics are witty and often amusing, matched well to the mood of the music. The record kicks things off with what has become my favorite track, "X", a peppy song with a perfect mix of acoustic and electric guitar, augmented with plenty of juicy harmonies. The catchy songs keep rolling along with the title track, "Oasis", and "Lifeboat" providing some of the finest 12 minutes of classic power pop I've heard in a while. The record sags a bit after this until "Gato Negro" and the wonderful "Bud". Fans of any of the aforementioned bands will certainly want to take note of this one.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10

Gavin Guss on MySpace. Official site.

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