Route 66

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This Danish trio, as guitarist, singer, and songwriter Claes Johansen confessed in the liner notes to the reissue of their sole LP, played "nearly all self-composed material inspired by people like Elvis…
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This Danish trio, as guitarist, singer, and songwriter Claes Johansen confessed in the liner notes to the reissue of their sole LP, played "nearly all self-composed material inspired by people like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson Band, and Squeeze." That's exactly accurate: Johansen, who wrote all the band's material, followed the aforementioned trio of icons in roughly that order. In fact, you'd never suspect that this band wasn't British from their cleanly executed, melodic sound, with roots in power-pop and pub-rock. When their album was recorded in 1984, they already sounded a bit retro, though not in a forced way. Their record company's Danish branch closed the week it came out, and a mere 500 copies were pressed, although it was reissued on CD in 1997. The band struggled on for a bit, recording a mini-album in 1987 that went unreleased (although it's now available on the CD version of the 1984 LP), and broke up in early 1988. They were entirely derivative of late-'70s British new wave/power-pop, but fans of that form shouldn't feel guilty about enjoying Route 66 nonetheless. They may have lacked personality, but they were very good at what they did, and their recordings -- wholly unknown in the U.S. -- are better than those of many similar early-'80s acts who enjoy wider recognition among collectors.