Wyatt Blair

Ok so the other day, getting pizza with some friends, I was wrapping up out front of the shop. The place’s delivery guy bumped out of the door, cigarette dangling, pies aloft, mullett on point and jumped into a bruised white convertible. He threw the pizza in the backseat, cranked Billy Idol on the stereo and pulled a U-ie into traffic. Clearly he was living his best life and that is probably the truest analogy I can provide for how Wyatt Blair’s album feels. Blair, an unabashed devotee to the ’80s some would like to forget, your gym teacher is still living and Kenny Loggins is still tying to remember has crafted the best love letter to a generation and its excesses than probably anyone has ever taken the time to perfect.

There’s a power pop soul to Blair’s writing, but its been massively perverted by the hair metal overload of an era of MTV. Its been melted into shape by Yacht Rock’s smoothness. It’s harnessed the lightning strike of crisp ’80s overload that most laughingly write off as a trite and forgettable soundtrack to Michael J. Fox films and Tom Cruise volleyball montages. These elements usually slip way back into the subconscious only to be tickled every so often by the flip of an oldies dial, but that’s where the brilliance of someone like Wyatt Blair fully coalesces. He not only embraces the schlock and sheen, he perfects it. Yeah fists are raised, gloves are fingerless and I’m pretty sure all of the drums are triggered but that’s where knowing you’re embracing a bygone image of cool transcends time and space and better judgment to just let that surge of fun light the way. Blair knows that everyone secretly just wants to embody their own montage, that we’re all riding the bus in elementary, junior high, high school and thinking back on that super compressed version of heightened reality with a feeling that’s equal parts ennui and pain.

The funny thing is Blair himself is a bit too young to have been on the buses at the time but he knows how to wrap up nostalgia in a way that bites just right. Every aesthetic bit of Point of No Return is full of the right amount of neon, and the right snap of spandex. The soft focus is racked just right and the ghosts of Eddie Money, Pat Benetar, Lita Ford and Wyatt’s own admitted crush, Kenny Loggins are streaming through the veins of the record without even feeling like an homage. His tracks just feel like they were the jukebox detritus of bands that got passed over. Its a record that could so seamlessly find its way into the soundtracks of teen films from the VHS graveyard that it would make Craig Wedren (aka Wet Hot American Summer‘s secret weapon) blush. So sit back and clip in for a ride that’s big and bold and lit and full of the life that may have left the radio these days, but its not forgotten. Clearly there’s still a little room for excess in 2016.




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