The Methadones

21st Century Power Pop Riot

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One of those rare all-covers projects that actually works, the Methadones' 21st Century Power Pop Riot might well actually be the band's best album so far. That's no disrespect to leader Dan Schafer's earlier work, which has been uniformly fine pop-punk, but this set is the first album Schafer has been involved with since his glory days as Ben Weasel's right-hand man in Screeching Weasel (under the name Danny Vapid) that's been this much unabashed fun. It helps immensely that the song selection is spot-on throughout, highlighting forgotten gems and lesser-known cult classics instead of the usual suspects: when the Records' "Starry Eyes" and Scandal's "Goodbye to You" (featuring a kicky lead vocal by Annie Soviette of the Soviettes) are among the most instantly familiar tunes on the album, it's clear that true power pop fans were behind this record. Versions of Elvis Costello's "Welcome to the Working Week" and, even better, the 1979 Costello soundalike "Back of My Hand" by the Jags are instant highlights, with a rockabilly-tinged workout on Nick Lowe's "Heart of the City" and a dead-on resurrection of the Pointed Sticks' "Out of Luck" close behind.

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