Jody Porter

Close to the Sun

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Originally issued in 2008 and enjoying an expanded domestic release on Engine Room Recordings two years later, Jody Porter's first solo album is a solid collection of rockers that plays on his strength as a guitarist of distinction, and shows him up to be a pretty good singer to boot. The Fountains of Wayne fretmaster (and guest guitarist to many) writes in a power pop mode, as expected, but also stretches his legs with luxurious, groove-oriented numbers like the opening "Twilite" (which hints at his shoegazer past with the band the Belltower) and "Hide in the Light." The pretty ballad "Good to Be Alone" segues into a sort of answer song, "You're Not Alone," whose dreaminess is echoed in the lovely acoustic closer, "Night for Days." Porter uses organ and sequencer to create drama on the Bowie-esque "To the Moon," a space-blues stunner that showcases a grittier vocal style. But if janglin' is what the people want, there's plenty to be had. "In Between Time" packs an epic's worth of melody in three and a half minutes. "A Beautiful Life" is a power pop sparkler with a fetching guitar line. "Waiting for the Stars" bounces around the stratosphere, with suspended chords and atmospheric verses that burst into super-punchy choruses. A neat stereo riff and banging hook lights up the glammy "Cars on the Motorway." Fountains of Wayne fans will want to hear this, but anyone who values trebly Brit-pop and guitar-centric melodic rock will hope that this isn't a one-off side project.

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