There are many reasons why I wish I was around to experience the late ’70s, early ’80s powerpop scene. The idea of seeing The Plimsouls, The (Paul Collins) Beat, 20/20, Shoes, The Romantics, and The Records (etcetera!) at the height of their powers would have been amazing. There is one advantage of being born too late though: Nowadays, you can build quite the power pop record collection without having to break the bank. You can simply browse the bargain bins of record stores. Sure, there are several must own ’45s that are going north of $100 on Discogs, but if you are lucky and patient, those will get an repress eventually and be affordable as well.
Here is a record that will instantly blend in that classic power pop collection. It is the new (and third) Speedways LP Talk Of The Town), which follows Radio Sounds (2020) and Just Another Regular Summer (2019). Like its predecessors, Talk Of The Town offers authentic classic powerpop that is decidedly out of style and without a doubt will quickly win over the hearts and minds of power pop fans around the globe.
Of the three records, Talk Of The Town sounds the most pop oriented. This often marks the moment where early and conservative fans jump ship. With The Speedways I do not see this happening, because the progression is noticeable yet subtle. Not only is this still very much powerpop, it is a display of the many faces of powerpop. For example, the title track could have been written by Peter Case for The Plimsouls. That verse in Shoulda Known? Vintage Elvis Costello! Strange Love? Is that a Tom Petty song? Weekend 155? Mixes ’80s new wave with a killer hook in the chorus that may not even be a chorus but is catchy nonetheless.
Talk Of The Town may be the most pop oriented Speedways record, it also is their most accomplished. Each of the 13 tracks packs a punch in term of harmonies, hooks and melodies. Rather than make you sentimental for first wave powerpop bands, The Speedways fill you with gratitude that power pop of this level is still being created in 2022. Co-released by Snap!! Records, Hurrah! Musica, and Beluga Records, Talk Of The Town is one of the finest power pop records of the year.