Powerpop CD Review: Jamie & Steve’s Circling
Just about everyone liked the Spongetones. If was virtually impossible not to get caught up in the catchy melodies, spot-on harmonies, and Beatlesque stylings of Jamie, Steve, Rob, and Pat.
As Jamie & Steve, Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel push the envelope the way the Sponetones never did, embracing pop convention and turning it on it’s ear at the same time. Each of their prior efforts (English Afterthoughts, Next Big Thing, and Imaginary Cafe) were memorable for having their share of catchy, radio friendly pop songs while juxtaposing them with pieces that go in an altogether unexpected direction – so exciting and different they make one sit up and take notice.
Circling offers up another collection of outside-the-box pop songs and much like when the circus comes to town, it’s guaranteed to both charm and amaze.
Just as with Next Big Thing’s “Half A Man” and Imaginary Cafe’s “A Dangerous Man To Know”, Hoover & Stoeckel do their best impression of tight-rope walkers (or knife throwers, maybe?) with “Origami Woman” and “Spin Drift”. The latter is a superb mood piece – It’s serene beginnings fool you as it later pulls you into a dark abyss….and then brings you back out again. “You” and “Wonderful Girl” finish the EP perfectly with their irresistible melodies and gorgeous harmonies, making it evident that Jamie & Steve have a firm grasp of the old PT Barnum adage.
Always leave them wanting more.