Power Pop Review: Kurt Baker’s Rockin’ For a Living
Starting January 2 I’ll be giving you my list of the top CDs of 2011. I thought I’d review one more EP between then and now, and Kurt Baker‘s new release happen to fall into my lap. Unlike Charlotte’s Spongetones (the previous EP reviewed here) Baker has no Carolina or SU connection that I’m aware of.
I had no idea who Baker was until a couple of weeks ago when Curt, author of the definitive site on power pop past and present (and no doubt future too) pointed me in Baker’s direction. The former lead singer of The Leftovers recorded a CD of covers called “Got It Covered” and while it was a really fun record, it was still just covers. I was impressed my the energy in the recording but like most covers records, it was ultimately forgettable.
Then I heard Baker’s EP entitled Rockin’ For a Living, 6 original tunes that seem to channel the spirit of the artists he no doubt finds his inspiration from.
The songs are crisp, fun, and manage to be familiar and fresh at the same time. Elvis Costello is an obvious influence here, particularly heard in the first song of the EP, Don’t Forget About It. Don’t Steal My Heart Away and Can’t Have Her Back are classic under 3 minute power pop songs with hooks and hand claps galore. Kiss Me is the only cut I could take or leave. The EP finishes with the punkier The Problem, the only song that clocks in at over 3 minutes.
I’m really looking forward to a Kurt Baker full length effort off the strength of this EP. Let’s hope something is in the works for 2012.