If a city has a viable music scene, chances are that there are some artists who have achieved local hero status. Whether the city is St. Louis, Barcelona, Melbourne, Johannesburg, or Buenos Aires -- whether the style is hard bop, rap, alternative metal, or cumbia -- local heroes are the people who become hometown stars even though they aren't well known in other places. A local hero could be someone like Philadelphia singer/songwriter Kenn Kweder; it could be a mariachi vocalist who has an enthusiastic following in Guadalajara but is unknown in other parts of Mexico. And in Pittsburgh, PA, local hero status belongs to the Clarks -- who have long commanded a loyal following in Steeltown but aren't well known nationally (at least as of mid-'05). Between Now and Then, a best-of collection, shows why they are so highly regarded in Pittsburgh -- most of the material is state-of-the-art power pop. Quite often, the Clarks incorporate country ("Caroline," "Butterflies and Airplanes," "Mercury"), and at times, blue-eyed soul is an influence ("Shimmy Low"). But first and foremost, the Clarks are power pop -- and anyone who has spent a lot of time enjoying the Goo Goo Dolls, the Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, or the BoDeans should have no problem getting into this 18-track, 71-minute CD. The Clarks' longtime followers will be familiar with most of these songs; "Penny on the Floor" and "Cigarette" are among the tracks that are local favorites in Pittsburgh. And for those who don't live in Steeltown and are interesting in exploring the Clarks' for the first time, Between Now and Then can be a pleasing introduction to their infectious, melodic power pop.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson