Nine by Nine, the 2000 debut full-length from Detroit's the Fletcher Pratt, is a welcome addition to the pantheon of amazing power-pop albums. The singing, guitar-playing team of George Dubber and Stephen Palmer know the proof is in the songwriting: Each song is given their upmost attention to detail, crafting short and sweet blasts of intelligent pop. Not only is the Fletcher Pratt spot-on as musicians, they have the Beatles' gift of tunesmith and the balls-out, do-or-die attitude of early Elvis Costello. The album's first track is also the first single; "Electrocute!" is two minutes of flawless, peppy power pop so energetic it threatens to burst through the speakers. "Change" has that magic spark that early Sloan possessed: upbeat tempo, dark lyrical undertones, yet downright fun. Throughout the album, the rhythm section tastefully drives the songs: Joe Lavis's bass playing blends McCartney's melodic dexterity with Entwistle's muscular stomp. Joe Leone attacks the drums with manic precision and cocky flair. "Letters" and "Sugar Won't Let You Sleep" are two of the catchiest numbers on the CD. Both flaunt inventive vocal harmonies and choruses that command you to sing along. The album concludes with "Long Medley," an eclectic collection of pop gems. Beginning with the sublime "Take It Away From Us," it flows into "Taxday," a lush, mid-tempo mini-epic. On "Liberated," the band finally gets to relax, creating a subtle, beautifully executed tale of loss. "Ring True" rocks out as the album fades. Jangly guitars, smart lyrics, stellar songs. Nine By Nine is a great album.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dale T. Nicholls