Following the double dose of Guv I and II, Ben Cook tees up Guv III, another sweet dose of power pop, jangle-pop and bright-eyed indie. While it seemed possible that he’d dive into a full country croon after a reunion with James Matthew VII for a single and the dusted saunter of “Maybe I Should Luv Somebody Else,” Ben returns to the pop well for an album that’s as focused and fun as he’s ever been. The twin prongs of I & II swerved from the poles of jangle and xeroxed soul, but the sounds on Guv III tower over its predecessors. Feeling like Cook’s gassed the tank on the class of ’94 and a bit beyond, this one takes Power Pop slices from Sloan, Teenage Fanclub, and Velvet Crush. The guitars strum wide under stadium sized lights before a wave of fuzz comes to wash the hooks away. Cascades of harmonies drag the heart into the upper atmosphere, a swooning wave of lovelorn odes and infatuated inclinations.
The bigness sounds good on Ben and it’s his best since the compact crunch of Ripe 4 Luv. Where that record shaved the best power pop moves off of an older generation and scotch-taped them to an 8-Track aesthetic, the feeling on Guv III is that of becoming best friends with the studio. Cook builds towering three-minute vngettes that swirl about the room, pushing sound into every corner and crevice. If any artist deserved a wider window to their sound, it’s Young Guv. The record recruits quite a few old friends into the fold, including the aforementioned JMVII, alongside Noah Kohll (Color Green) and Jon Catfish Delorme (Cut Worms, Woods). Seems there’s a promised follow-up (VI, naturally) but for now there’s quite a bit to explore on the soaring winds of III. Kinda with this one had a bigger footprint physically, as it seems that if you weren’t in on the pre-order then you might be SOL, but digital still hits like a pop-torn storm.
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