Power hooks

Back in the 90s, power pop went on a date with grunge. Some of the truly great bands that plied this sound were the likes of Arcwelder and, particularly, Judge Nothing. I still listen to that stuff all the time. The Variety Hour takes me all the way back.

The Variety Hour
Motivacancy EP

And the band hails from Tacoma, so there's a geographical imperative at work (for the grunginess; most of the bands I remember were Midwestern). These are thick rock songs with pop hooks, some really nice lyrical lead guitar work and just the slightest hint of a rootsy sensibility.

The more I listen, the more I hear (and pine for) Judge Nothing. And a little Sugar. Y'know, some really good stuff. The band itself likes to reference Cheap Trick, Swervedriver, Teenage Fanclub, Dino Jr. and the like. So they know where they're coming from as well.

It's always good to acknowledge one's roots. The Variety Hour nudges that "old" sound into this millennium with a fine attention to detail and very clean production work. But it's just a nudge. I can settle in here and pretend that it's 1993 all over again. There's a Clinton in the White House and life is good. Well, pipe dreams are just that, but the Variety Hour is the real deal.

Jon Worley

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