There's nothing fancy about Eugene Edwards' debut record, My Favorite Revolution. Powered by simple guitars, bass, and drums, influenced by power pop from the '60s to today, and firmly in the classic verse-chorus songwriting tradition, the record could have been a cookie-cutter nonentity. Certainly, in the wrong hands this kind of guitar pop can come off as studied and dull or, on the flip side, frivolous and camp. Edwards makes it work by being deadly serious. There are no winking asides, no arch tributes to pop icons, and not a drop of silliness. Every note sounds like it matters to Edwards and every note sounds real, and it gives the record an authenticity that most modern power pop records lack. Of course, authenticity isn't worth a dime unless it is backed up with tunes. Edwards delivers in fine fashion, whether he is making you smile nostalgically ("It Doesn't Get Better Than This," "Not That Kind of a Girl," "It's All About You"), breaking your heart ("The Next Time You Go," "Shattered Flower"), or just rocking you ("My Favorite Revolution," "At Your Place"). Edwards' voice is lively and pleasantly rough, reminiscent at times of Marshall Crenshaw or early Elvis Costello (without the sneer). His playing (and he plays everything on the album except the drums) is fiery and the production is tight and sharp without being slick, featuring nicely jangled guitars and smooth vocal harmonies. In fact, everything sounds note-perfect, and there isn't a wasted note or a bad idea anywhere. Impressive for a debut from out of nowhere, My Favorite Revolution is quite a pleasure. Of course, it is a pleasure that will likely only appeal to a small band of guitar pop enthusiasts unafraid to take a chance on an unknown, but that isn't Edwards' fault. All he has done is craft the kind of record that, if it had come out in 1977, would be talked about now in the same reverent tones as Dwight Twilley's debut or Tom Petty's first couple of singles. It isn't quite at that level, but it comes a lot closer than anyone else has lately, and for that, My Favorite Revolution deserves all the praise it gets. -AMG
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