Joe Adragna

Fall Back

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The Not Lame folks, who know their power pop, impressively compared New Orleans' Adragna's 2006 first album Catchy (under his older name, the Junior League) to Sloan, Gripweeds, Lemonheads, Big Star, Buffalo Springfield, and Marshall Crenshaw. Perhaps he's recording under his own name now to signal his maturity in taking those influences (and 1969 Beatles and 1971 Kinks) and applying them to this well-recorded singer/songwriter LP. With help from Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck of the R.E.M., Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows nexus, as well as Susan Cowsill and others (even ex-Squirrel Bait punk singer Peter Searcy, oddly on cello), the talented multi-instrumentalist plies the post-Byrds jangle pop feel of Buck's R.E.M. circa "Maps and Legends" on songs like "You're Gonna Die Alone," while pushing minor country buttons elsewhere (like the pedal steel crying "Far Away"), and "falling back" on his deep production, careful arrangements, and "catchy" vocals. Like Joe Pernice, who works along similar lines, this man has a profound respect for a lovingly well-crafted tune, and it shows over and over.