Ken Sharp

Happy Accidents

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Ken Sharp's debut 1301 Highland Avenue may have been a very good latter-day pop album, but it was released with considerably limited distribution, barely appearing outside of Japan. His second effort, 2000's Happy Accidents, benefited from that album, Sharp's profile, and, most importantly, the emergence of the pop underground in the U.S. during the time since the 1994 release of 1301 -- an event that resulted in Happy Accidents appearing on the well-loved pop indie Not Lame. Anybody who sought out Sharp's first album will not be surprised by Happy Accidents, since it's very much in the same vein as that record -- a loving, tasteful, accomplished set of classicist pop created by one of the genre's preservationists who happens not only to have good taste, but a knack for creating charming, melodic pop of his own. True, Sharp's high voice may be a little of an acquired taste, and there's a little bit too much modernism here -- check the trip-hop-meets-Oasis flavor of "See Through My Eyes," a catchy song, but not as effortless as other tunes here -- but Sharp remains a consummate pop fan. Better than that, he is a classy pop record-maker, clearly indebted to the tradition of the '60s (see the "Strawberry Fields" Mellotron of "Wrecking Ball," which nevertheless still sounds like it wants to break into ELO's "Strange Magic"), but not being fetishistic, instead turning his love into a record that will appeal to the kind of fan he is: people raised on classic pop, from the Beatles to new wave (and not much further than that), looking for a tuneful, classy collection of songs that evoke the sounds, if not the spirit, of their favorite pop records. That may not make it a record of seismic importance, but it certainly is something that is worth tracking down by pop fans with similar tastes.

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