Powerpop CD Review: The Chevelles – Accelerator
There are a small group of very fine songwriters and powerpop / garage bands in Australia – bands that rival any here in the US for their sheer ability to write a killer hook. Dom Mariani (DM3), Hoodoo Gurus, and Danny McDonald immediately come to mind. Why they have yet to reach a bigger audience mystifies me. The Chevelles, however, have proven to be more of an enigma then any of them.
They released one of the finest summertime records of the last 30 years with Girl God and more recently wrote and recorded a single, Betty Page, with Little Steven Van Zandt of E Street Band fame. Still, fame and fortune have treated Duane Smith, Adrian Allen, and the rest of the band much like a baby treats a diaper.
Having listened to Betty Page again, it reminded me how good these guys really are. And, although it is not my habit to review recordings that are several years old, I’m going to do it anyway. So here’s my take on the latest (but not new) release by The Chevelles entitled Accelerator.
True to form, Accelerator is another fine summer LP from the guys. My only criticism is that the disc is somewhat inconsistent. Some tracks date back to the release of Barberella / Girl God, a compilation from 2008 while others are relatively new.
The opening track, “Get It On”, starts things on the right foot and can adequately be described as “The Who meets the Ramones meets the Easybeats meets Beach Blanket Bingo“, a description I’d heard elsewhere but describes The Chevelles sound as well as any description I can come up with. The irresistibly catchy “Wake Up Suzy” must surely be Duane Smith’s update of the Everly Brothers‘ “Wake Up Little Suzy”. The chorus is one big hook and grabs you on the first listen. “Summer Fun” is exactly that, and the harmonies on “The Breakup Song” as on the entire disc are memorable.
The Chevelles have always played with cultural references in an interesting way. “Betty Page”, the most recent single from the band, is the perfect example. (If you’re too young to know who Betty Page is, you can find out here). The song is not on Accelerator but was released more recently.
Anyway, Accelerator has just such a song too. Barbarella, makes reference to an old Jane Fonda movie where she plays an intergalactic sex symbol. If you’re not familiar with the flick, it has a pretty deep plot. Barbarella, a 41st century astronaut, has to stop the evil Durand-Durand on the planet Lythion, where a new sin is invented every hour. But not before we’re treated to an anti-gravity striptease. WOW! THAT is Oscar material!
Back to the disc…my two favorite songs on the disc are “Come Back to Me” and “Stacy Loves Cocaine” (and she’s got a gun!), both classic guitar driven, balls to the walls tracks.
The recording may be a couple of years old, but its new to most folks and, this being the beginning of summer, there is no better time to give this disc (and band) a listen. Get it here at Wicked Cool Records.