It’s not that there’s no pop tradition in Texas, but it seems that, if you’re not wearing a hat and the cowboy boots, you’re not likely to be taken seriously.
In Blue Cartoon’s case, Beatle-boots and moptops suit them much better (not that they’re actually wearing them). Having released their third album, it’s about time for this band’s potential to be fully realized, which will hopefully, and finally, put them into the power-pop major league, where they belong.
If you judge them by the futuristic imagery on their album covers, this “orchestra” will put you right under the “electric light” radiation, which is not far from where you’re about to get. You can hear the E.L.O. influence all over the record, most notably in Before It’s Over, which is like a Lynne-ar produced Squeeze, with Harrison steppin’ in on the slide guitar, or The Spark, which also adds a bit of Chris Von Sneidern-spark to it.
When it comes to guitar pop bands, it’s almost inevitable to have at least some of The Byrds-y chime on the record, and you’ll find LOTS of it in Everyday Magic, Last Rose Of Summer and in the title tune, where you’ll hear an incredible Byrds/Macca/Brian mix-up, like it has been done by The Pearlfishers.
Empty Eyes is a possible result of what might have been if Paul and Brian had been collaborating instead of competing, What Makes Love Last points it’s “badfinger” into another CVS-shaped power-pop, and I can’t help but mention the retrofuturistic wonder of Flying Cars (1959).
Apart from the occasional slide tone, the closest you’ll get to the local country’n’western sound is the banjo/guitar twang and the harp-howls of Idaho.
After taking us “Downtown Shangri-La” with their previous release, it’s only with this last one that the Blue Cartoon makes us enjoy “the wonder of it all”.
[Released by Aardvark 2002]