Reviews: And For Our Next Trick
The Tearaways “And For Our Next Trick”
California power pop supergroup, The Tearaways are back. The band features the dual lead singers of bassist John “Fin” Finseth and rhythm guitarist Greg Brallier, lead guitar David Hekhouse and Roc
k & Roll Hall of Fame drummer Clem Burke (Blondie). They start out with the R-rated Beatlesque rocker “Are you Fucking Kidding Me?” and “Not Good Enough For Me” starts out like The Bobby Fuller Four and devolves into a Who-like jam at the end. The band’s influences are baked in, but the songs have their own unique sound.
“No Love Lost” is a brilliant melody similar to The Weeklings, but they find other compelling directions like “Let Me Be The Last” or “Emotional Distance.” The drummer tribute “Charlie, Keith and Ringo” and the bouncy “Saturday Everyday” are both power pop gold with their crisp harmonies and sugar-filled choruses. The album boasts consistently great music from beginning to end, so it will easily fall into my Top Ten album nominee list for 2023. Super highly-recommended.
The Tearaways have been darlings of the Power Pop scene for a while. This is their 6th album released in 6 years. That sort of output may mean that quality control is a bit lacking, but not here. With Blondie’s Clem Burke occupying the drum chair you would expect a high energy beat, add ex Heartbreaker Benmont Tench on piano and organ and you would wonder if the 3 core members might end up as sidemen on their own project. Not so, the strong dual lead vocals John Finseth and Greg Brallier and lead guitarist of David Hekhouse own their sound and their songs. The first brief solo comes on third song in Come On Jaan which at just 02:17 is a masterclass in economy.
By then we have had the cleaned-up version of Are You Effing Kidding Me (the uncensored version closes the album), which shows why they have brought Burke into the fold. Everything you love about the drumming on the best Blondie songs is distilled into a one short blast of fury.
Power Pop, which has a highly active following thanks to people like Bruce Brodeen of Not Lame Records and writer John Borack, embraces good old-fashioned virtues of greats song, with powerful delivery and simple, effective playing. If you want that then you can find it here. No Love Lost’s Hammond organ lead from Tench prompts David Hekhouse into Mike Campbell style flourishes. The slower tempo of Let Me Be The Last, propelled by another great groove from Burke has almost CSN level harmonies. Indeed, the twin voices used throughout the album place the sound in 1964, against a backing that could be anywhere from 1979 to 1996. If you want innovation, look elsewhere. This is just straightforward guitar pop that, while not fashionable, has everything that got us excited about pop music in the first place.
The tribute to their favourite drummers, Charlie, Keith, And Ringo, and especially Saturday, Everyday set the time machine to 1974, combining all the virtues of the best pop of that decade. Married and Single is saved from being slightly pedestrian by Hekhouse’s wonderful Stones style solo. Last song before the reprise of the opening song, Emotional Distance is the closest we get to a ballad with slide guitar and piano behind harmonies that the early Beatles would hope to emulate.
If you’ve read this thinking, “I didn’t know that Power Pop was still a thing” then this is the place to catch up. With artists like The Tearaways and Canadian singer Pennan Brae it is in good and hands and going places. Bruce Brodeen of Not Lame/Pop geek heaven produces a carefully curated Best Power Pop of the year album. IN 2023 he can save himself the trouble and just send out copies of this brilliant album
By Betrand Tappaz
The Californians are back with a new album for which they pulled out all the stops: recording at the legendary Village Recorders studios in Los Angeles under the leadership of the legendary Ed Stasium!!!
Just that !
And when we hear their songs we understand that they deserve such luxury treatment!!!
It must be said that this group has been around since the 80s and that it now includes the drummer of Blondie. So there is so much and more to know how…
And the Tearaways know how to use it wisely!!!
Musically they evolve, with delicacy, elegance and agility in a historic Power Pop channel niche in which we immediately recognize that they come from California as their songs are full of sunshine and joie de vivre!!!
My god how good is this album!
The quintessence of everything you dream of hearing in Power Pop:
And For Our Next Trick. The Tearaways
The only difference being that The Tearaways are no longer young men. The veterans comes up with pop perfection leaning heavily on the days of old, while using every trick in the book available to them. To great success, as this album is a pop joy to listen to.
It starts with the dual vocal delivery of John “Fin” Finseth and Greg Brallier. Their singing is so good. They find every harmony there is to find in a vocal melody. Their voices blend and go apart to create different moods all over the album. They sing together as they were put upon this world with one purpose only: sing together. And they do, I promise you.
With a lead guitarist who is not into huge solo’s taking the attention away from the singing but all about embellishing each song with fine notes, strong accents and little melodies the band has another strong feature. David Hekhouse is a modest lead guitarist who has everything down in a Peter Buck and Roger McGuinn style of guitar playing.
In Clem Burke the band has its most famous member. The Blondie drummer is a band member since 1981. On organ you hear Heartbreaker Benmont Tench, who has a considerable contribution to And For Our Next Trick.
The question is how far can this record go. It is totally anachronistic. It’s sound coming straight out of the past as if a time machine made a mistake and put it out last week instead of 1966 or so. My take is The Tearaways have made this record for people like me, who can really enjoy music from decades ago, caught in originals in this decade. Yes, I know, it has all been done before and in some cases better like in The Beatles hear-a-like ‘Goodnight Nurse’, (‘Dr. Robert’, anyone) but still it sounds so good. That is the fun and the joy of listening to And For Our Next Trick. Above all, this album is well written and made with veteran producer Ed Stasium. Not since ‘Catch-All’, Swag’s album from 2001, have I heard a band having this much fun with the past as The Tearaways have here.
Now, I was under the impression that the band with And For Our Next Trick released its first record, but then I found on Wikipedia it is around since the 1980s. The lemma gives no discography. The band’s Bandcamp page only gives this record and the single ‘Charlie, Keith, Ringo’, that can be found on this blog in a review as well. The band’s own website provides the answer. This is the sixth album and first with British label Dirty Water Records.
Wout de Natris
The Tearaways – And For Our Next Trick
The Tearaways had been out of my peripheral view since 1993’s See The Sound. So when their latest dropped into my lap, I had no real expectations. Frankly, I didn’t remember that much about them. And For Our Next Trick, their latest, is a very pleasant surprise. The hooks are plentiful, the attitude undeniable and it’s got the most memorable track of 2023 so far.
Influences are numerous on this one. “Not Good Enough For Me” is propelled by a Buddy Holly beat while “Come On Jaan” channels the reckless abandon of The Fleshtones. One can hear The Who in parts of “No Love Lost.”
And the award goes to….
The über-jangly “Easier Done Than Said” is a real earworm while “Married and Single” is so catchy you’re sure to be humming along to it consciously or otherwise.
Greg Pope gave us the most memorable song of 2022 with “Sorry I Wrote This Song”. This year’s nomination has to go to The Tearaways’ “You Must Be Fu**ing Kidding Me”. With a delivery straight out of White Album era Beatles and immediate visceral appeal, it’s an instant classic.
Out Now on Dirty Water Records
New album: The Tearaways || And For Our Next Trick
By Dennis / March 29, 2023 / Garage Rock, Power Pop / Leave a Comment
If you would like to buy The Tearaways‘ 1981 debut 7″ Sounds Like now, you will have to bring about $150. The good news is that – over 40 years later – the Californian supergroup is still making music that is at least as good as it was in their early days, and you can download their new full-length And For Our Next Trick for a lousy £8. John “Fin” Finseth (vocals, bass), Greg Brallier (vocals, rhythm guitar), David Hekhouse (lead guitar) and Clem Burke (drums), joined by Benmont Tench (keys) and Steven McCarthy (pedal steel), know all the moves for maximum effect, performed here in full force. All our favorite labels apply to these twelve songs: catchy, energetic, melodic, fun, powerful, and so on. This is classic power pop for modern ages. You’ll hear the unambiguous Are You Fucking Kidding Me in two versions, and a successful homage to Charlie, Keith and Ringo. More valuable than the price tag suggests.
THE TEARAWAYS – And For Our Next Trick (Dirty Water Records, www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk)
Dirty Water Records is a UK label best known for championing the garage and rock and roll revival. Dirty Water: dirty music for dirty people may as well be their tagline, because their usual fare is music from the seedy back alleys and dark underbelly of rock and roll. And thank the gods for it! But Dirty Water has been branching out lately, and their new release from California’s The Tearaways is a good example of this. The band has much cleaner sound than is typical of Dirty Water releases, blending 70s power pop with 60s California beach pop and British Invasion sounds. The music is bright and sunny, just like the band’s Santa Barbara hometown, and it’s chock full of jangly guitars and beautifully harmonized vocals. Check out the track, “Are You Fucking Kidding Me,” which is included in both regular and radio edit versions. It sounds like a cross between The Beatles and 70s glam, and is sure to get your head nodding and your toes tapping. “Come On Jaan” strongly channels the Beatles, too, with its harmonies, melody, rhythm, guitar licks. I enjoy the rolling sounds of “Not Good Enough For Me,” that feeling coming from the power of the rhythm section, and the harmonized vocals meshing well with the retro guitar riffs. The previously released single, “Charlie, Keith, and Ringo,” is a brilliant homage to the drummers for The Rolling Stones, The Who, and the Beatles,” harkening back to big 70s arena glam rock sounds. This is an unexpected release from Dirty Water Records, but it’s a welcome one.
A Fabulous “Trick” From The Tearaways
And For Our Next Trick also includes some terrific 1980s infused tunes like the gorgeous “No Love Lost” and the propulsive “Not Good Enough” which recall the alterna-pop/rock sounds of artists like Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, and The Outfield, with a dash of Elvis Costello tossed into the mix. Fans of well-crafted rock/pop will definitely dig the crunchy, guitar-drenched “Goodnight Nurse,” the compelling ballad “Emotional Distance,” and the exuberant “Saturday Everyday.” The disc also features a cool tribute to three iconic drummers on the excellent “Charlie, Keith and Ringo.”
The band’s boundless energy and passion for their music comes through on every track. Their vocals and instrumental work are top notch, and the guest appearances by Benmont Tench, of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers fame, on keyboards, and Steven McCarthy from The Jayhawks and The Long Ryders, on pedal steel guitar, enhance the expert musicianship on the disc. It’s no surprise that the album has strong echoes of classic power pop and 1980s alternative rock, as the record was produced by the one and only Ed Stasium, who’s worked with everyone from The Smithereens, Hoodoo Gurus and The Ramones to Living Colour and Talking Heads.
And For Our Next Trick will be like manna from heaven for devotees of The Tearaways’ marvelous melange of rock, power pop, and alternative sounds. If you’re not already a fan of the band and their superlative music, this album will turn you into a believer. These dazzling, hook-filled tunes will get stuck in your head, and you’ll most certainly be adding this remarkable record to your regular music rotation. And For Our Next Trick is now available from the UK based label Dirty Water Records. Here’s a link to the video for “Saturday Everyday,” the album’s first single: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0uSC4GntwU.