House & Homes
The return of classic, progressive pop heralded by the Shins, Beulah, Ted Leo, and the Pernice Brothers has produced many followers. But too often today's young, literate power-pop groups simply meet the expectations of their genre without exceeding them. A great guitar pop band needs to add something special to the canon; the line must be straddled where a song remains universal, while offering inspired innovations from within. The Bye Bye Blackbirds are a great guitar pop band. On their debut full-length, the band creates a powerful testament to pop music's capacity for depth, beauty, and expressiveness. Boasting multiple songwriters, each with his own style, the group draws easy comparisons to Big Star, Teenage Fan club, and Buffalo Springfield. These true students of song-craft are as eager to cite the influence of consensus progressive-pop geniuses like Elvis Costello, the Go-Betweens, and Prefab Sprout as they are the more obscure ones, like recluse song architect Bill Fox, transcendent choirgirl Judee Sill, garage-pop masters the Reigning Sound, and criminally ignored Kiwi-rockers Sneaky Feelings.