The Legal Matters - Album Review

STELLAR DETROIT POWER-POP WITH IRISH CONNECTION

Lifting their moniker from an early Who single, Michigan three-piece The Legal Matters trade in the kind of classic, jangly power-pop that never goes out of fashion. They clearly take their craft seriously – the 10 songs here combine the best elements of golden era guitar pop and modern production techniques. There is an Irish link – an associate of the band is Cormac Wright, of ‘80s Dublin outfit The End (Tom Dunne and Trouble Pilgrim Johnnie Bonnie were also members).

Reminding you of Teenage Fanclub meets The Beach Boys, opener ‘Rite of Spring’ makes for a great introduction while the mid-paced ‘Stubborn’ boasts a jerky riff and an irresistible chorus. Meanwhile, with lovely acoustic guitar textures and soaring “oohs and aahs”, ‘Have You Changed Your Mind’ is as near perfect as a pop song can be and the acoustic strum and vocal harmonies on ‘So Long Sunny Days’ recalls ’70s trio America (best known for ‘Horse With No Name’). More glorious harmonies abound on ‘It’s Not What I Say’, reminiscent of Crowded House (‘Fall At Your Feet’) in the guitar pattern but The Hollies vocally and melodically.

‘Before We Get It Right’ blends Beach Boys (‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’) with a hint of The Beatles’ ‘Getting Better’. The pace slows for the nostalgic ‘Outer Space’, which boasts a lovely descending chord-progression. Meanwhile ‘We Were Enemies’ offers even more sumptuous melodies and harmonies. Fans of The Rubinoos, Fountains of Wayne and Matthew Sweet will savour every note.

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