Powerpop Review: Jamie Hoover’s Jamie Two Ever
Jamie Hoover is responsible for some of the more interesting powerpop releases of the past few years. They manage to push the envelope, having an experimental edge to them, all while retaining the qualities people have grown to appreciate from his previous work with The Spongetones and Steve Stoeckel – great harmonies and hooks-a-plenty. One might have a special appreciation for these abilities after having heard Jamie (Hoover) & Steve (Stoeckel) perform live.
Still, when I heard that his new solo release, Jamie Two Ever, was to be to some degree an a capella effort, I wondered why someone so accomplished with a guitar would try such a thing. The results are a testament to Hoover’s versatility and his ability to engage a listener with a hook – even without the use of his guitar.
Apparently, a hand injury necessitated Hoover’s thinking outside the box (something he seems especially adept at) and was the genesis for Jamie Two Ever’s a capella cuts. These tracks, along with other new material and a great selection of covers make for a very engaging long-player.
Hoover’s selection of covers is extraordinary. Don Dixon’s “Righteous Side of Love” and the Jim Wann/Bland Simpson penned “Georgia Rose” are standouts as well as a fantastic rendition of The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee”, one of the most memorable songs ever recorded, imo. And there’s a great a capella version of The Beatles’ “Misery” here as well. But it’s the originals that shine brightest here. The vocal only “Press Save” is impressive and a demonstration of what one can do with a catchy melody and great harmonies. Who knew you could write a great hook without a guitar?
Okay, probably everyone but me. But still, this is impressive nonetheless.
“Lost” is a mid-tempo, soothing Hoover/Stoeckel track while “The Jim Joanne Massacre” is an amusing transgender tale in the same vein as “Walk on the Wild Side” or “Lola”. Saving the best for last (almost), “You Took Away The Birds” is a piano driven number that’ll remind one of late era McCartney/Lennon.
Much like a great collection of short stories, the songs on Jamie Two Ever vary greatly but all share a similar perspective or related narrative. This makes for one of those rare collections that, as good as each individual song is, adds up to even more than the sum of it’s individual parts. Its a highly entertaining record.
*Photo by Laura S. Tinnel