He’s an exalted power-pop god, so naturally, almost no one has ever heard of Scott Miller, founder and only consistent member of The Loud Family, or bought any of his/their records; in fact, as an ongoing concern, The Loud Family ceased to exist around the turn of the century. The backstory behind this new album, apparently, is that Miller is such a fan of fellow power-pop god/broke songwriter Anton Barbeau that he decided, Blues Brothers-style, to “get the band back together” in a presumable effort to squeeze both of their miniscule-yet-fervent fanbases into one slightly larger, hopefully more efficient record-buyin’ machine.
Hence What If It Works?
If you’re into this sort of thing, you’ve probably already heard about the album, and maybe even read some of the lukewarm reviews that have been flitting about the Interwebs over the past few weeks. Personally, after my first few listens, I had the same sort of “eh” reaction written about in places like the AMG:but now that the record’s been living in my house for awhile, I’m starting to warm up to it. It commits the same sins as most power pop albums â€” excessively bright production, excessively opaque musical/lyrical references, excessively smart hooks â€” which is why, if you like some power with your pop, you’ll want to carry a copy of this album with you wherever you go for the next few months. And also why, if the genre has done nothing for you in the past,this record won’t do a bit to change your mind.
The thing is, even if What If It Works? falls prey to the generally diminishing returns that have plagued all of power pop since the early ’80s â€” and much of it does â€” it’s still rarely less than a fun, charming listen. Barbeau and Miller both bring a number of solid songs to the project (check out Barbeau’s “Pop Song 99” [download] and Miller’s “Total Mass Destruction” [download]), the hooks and clever lyrics are never in short supply, and on top of it all, it’s just easy to root for people in pursuit of a dream, no matter how small or unlikely.