Wyatt Blair sneaks out his second low-key release of 2018 with the decidedly sunny blast of power pop, Inspirational Strawberries. The album shrugs off pretty much all of the 80’s vibes that permeated his last couple of releases, making a pretty spectacular about face on the melancholy New Wave of March’s Smoke & Mirrors. The album reinvests in a more classic brand of power pop, chucking the neon out the window in favor of mod-pressed visions of jangle-pop that range from the ‘70s strut of Raspberries to the psychedelic swirl of The 3 O’Clock. While it doesn’t have the kitsch factor and AquaNet smirk that drove his high watermark Point of No Return, for power pop fans there’s plenty to hold onto here.
The hooks are about a mile wide and trussed up in the sunniest hues of the bubblegum brigade. There’s a definite feeling that Blair has been soaking his solace in the works of The Archies, Rick Springfield (circa Mission: Magic) and The Lemon Pipers with total sincerity. The ‘60s flame burns brightest on “(Stuck In A) Daydream” and “It’s Yesterday,” but there’s a general veneer of catchall Saturday Morning strummer inclusiveness adhered to the record, recalling whole hosts of Don Kirshner productions from the era. Blair’s always had a knack for pop, and he tends to serve the cult of listeners who don’t mind retreading a little old ground in search of those perfect pop swoons. So, while this might not be for every indie-pop tart out there, its manna to the sunshine searchers just looking for one more go ‘round through the best moments of 60s sparkle.
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