Brian Woodbury and His Popular Music Group is what happens when impressionable minds are exposed to Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle at an early age. Woodbury, whose '80s band the Some Philharmonic actually performed with Parks, has a similar desire to cram every bar of music and line of lyrics with witty references and ear-catching surprises. Unlike Parks, however, he is also a consummate writer of instantly memorable pop tunes, and so all 19 songs on this 55-minute album are suffused with the kind of pure pop hooks that fans of XTC or Guided by Voices will immediately love. (Fans attuned to the pop underground familiar with San Francisco's K.C. Bowman or Toronto's John Southworth will immediately recognize the New York-based Woodbury as a kindred spirit.) Woodbury's goofy-brainy persona and fondness for surreal wordplay will appeal to They Might Be Giants fans, but those who find that duo too precious will respond to the solid power pop hooks of songs like the faux-patriotic "Your Roots Are Phony" and the Young Fresh Fellows-like "I've Still Got My Balls."
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason
feat: Elma Mayer