Dan Pavelich is one guy who never sits still. Aside from making some of the greatest pop rock music ever transmitted to tape, he also pens the cute and charming “Just Say Uncle” comic strip. Needless to say, anything bearing Dan’s name always spells quality, and his latest record, Wake Up To Music! (Vandalay Music) meets and exceeds all expectations. The Click Beetles are actually a solo project, save for assorted handclaps from Dan’s wife Ellen and daughter Mari.
A common thread runs through the tracks on Wake Up To Music!, meaning they’re energetic, hooky, and get right to the point. No pussyfooting around here, as the Click Beetles keep the songs fit, firm, and easy to remember. The instrumentation ripples and rolls with excitement, and the vocals are pure and lucid.
Manned by springy sensations that demand immediate attention and action, “Tell Me How You Feel,” “Glad,” and “Shut The TV Down” carry traces of new wave residue a la the Cars , “Try Girl” is sweetened with a hearty helping of breathy harmonies and ringing chords, and the big and brassy “I Never Said Goodbye” shakes, shuffles, and swings to a dancing display of soul-soaked pop grooves.
A sinister undercurrent grips “Ever Since The World Began,” with its doomed relationship references and thick and heavy shredding, “Bubblegum” is as catchy and juicy as the title implies, and the brooding drone of “All Day Sucker” inches its way into a swell of spacy sonics sandwiched somewhere between shoegazing blues and psychedelic rock. The Beatles are covered in tip-top shape on “Do You Want To Know A Secret,” and a solid treatment of Marshall Crenshaw’s “Cynical Girl” is included on the disc as well.
Pairing power with melody, Wake Up To Music! is as contagious as the measles. I received a copy of the album just a few hours ago, and I’ve listened to it four times already. Along with the aforementioned Cars influence, the sound of the Spongetones, Shoes, and the Smithereens are further noted. But Dan has his own special style, involving excellent songwriting, arranging, and communication skills that accent originality. The Click Beetles are a worthy venture, and I’m sure I’m not the only person eager to sample more wares.
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