Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Model Rockets - Tell the Kids the Cops Are Here - 2002


Saying that a band is power pop may automatically evoke thoughts of Big Star, the Raspberries, or the Knack, but such a narrow definition would completely miss a band like Model Rockets. Yes, they are power pop — whatever that means — but they owe a lot more to late-period dB's than to any of the above. Actually, the dB's comparison is crucial here, as not only does Tell the Kids the Cops Are Here sound pleasantly like Sound of Music-era dB's, but lead vocalist John Ramberg is occasionally a vocal dead-ringer for Chris Stamey. And as if that isn't enough, Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows returns to twiddle the knobs on this release. If any of those references sound familiar or give an idea of what to expect, then Tell the Kids the Cops Are Here is almost certainly for you. The Rockets' old sense of humor is intact here, with lighthearted if not explicitly goofy lyrics sprinkled throughout the album, and the songwriting is consistently memorable and upbeat. Model Rockets are very much a jangle pop band, but are easily one of the best bands in that often hit-or-miss subgenre; while many rely too heavily on craft and style, Model Rockets' sardonic wit, unpolished hooks, and willingness to delve into both alt-country and post-punk give this album its vital edge. Even the tracks that don't make an instant impression reveal their charms on repeat listens, establishing Tell the Kids the Cops Are Here as one of those rare pop records that sounds different — and better — on the tenth, 30th, and 50th listens.-AMG


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