Power Pop, with it's jangling guitars, driving rhythms, bouncy bass lines, and muli-part vocal harmonies, comes and goes from popularity with the masses, but it will always have it's purveyors, and Tery Daly is clearly one of them. His band, The Static Octopus, have just released "Here Comes Nothing", and it's a true pop gem in the classic sense.
Daly's last release, "Schzophrenic Sandwich", (released under the band name Creatures of Habit, 1999, Bombco Records) was a lo-fi psychedelic indie-pop masterpiece that buried his pop genius under tons of effects and tape hiss. "Here Comes Nothing" throws off the shackles of lo-fi distractions and presents the hooks and harmonies in a fairly pristine fashion. Instead of sounding like early Guided by Voices, Sparklehorse or Elephant 6 work, his newest work sounds more like an amalgam of all the great British Invasion bands mixed with power pop greats like The Shoes, The db's, Marshall Crenshaw, Redd Kross and Fountains of Wayne, both musically and production-wise.
Musically the songs are much better developed this time out. Songs which seemed like little more than great ideas on previous releases truly come to fruition here, and yet true to pop roots, few of the songs clock in at much over 2:30, with one, the jaunty, Beatlesque "United Lemmings LTD." clocking in right at one minute. Speaking of The Fab Four (and by extension, The Hollies, The Byrds, Herman's Hermits et. al.), they're definitely a strong influence here, as evidenced on tracks like "You're A Curiosity", "Magnetic North", "Quality Western Star" and most especially on "Ella Going Backwards" which sounds like every Beatles song recorded in 1964 and 1965 thrown in the blender and mixed together. Don't get the idea, however, that this is all just lighweight Brit-pop here, because songs like "Mr. Kensington", "Lying To Me", "Caution City" Flower, and "Braindolls" rock in ways those bands never even imagined in their day. All the songs leave you wanting more, which I suppose is always a good thing.
Another big plus this time out is drummer Jeff Gustafson. On previous releases, Daly played all instruments himself, (and with the exeption of drums, continues to do so), but the addition of Gustafson here makes a big difference.
It's unlikely you'll hear any new material released by The Beatles, The Hollies, The db's or The Shoes this year, but if you pick up a copy of Here Comes Nothing, you can get music that easily stands alongside those bands.
- Gary Lee Evans