Essentially a solo project for Spinning Jennies frontman Jeff Shelton, the Well Wishers' Twenty-Four Seven is a blissed-out smack of honey that's fueled by late-summer sunsets and misguided road trips. Power pop, while disposable, is hard to throw away when it sounds this good. From the very first lick it's evident that Shelton knows how to sink a hook into you.
"See for the First Time" delivers the same kind of instantly gratifying melody that made Brendan Benson's "Tiny Spark" such a pop underground hit -- both songs celebrate the heavy guitar/analog synth interplay that the Cars perfected 20 years ago. Vocally, Shelton has the kind of fluid, vibrato-less croon that so many singers yearn for, so comparisons to Andy Partridge are inevitable, but the punchy production and tube-blown sound of tracks like "Sex & the Suburbs" and "Bustin Up" owe more to Cheap Trick and the Posies than they do to XTC. He breaks out of the mold occasionally with wistful ballads ("Dead Again") and country-rockers ("Something on Your Mind"), but rarely deviates from the pool of hummable melodies and hooks that has so obviously influenced him since his first Kiss record. There's honestly not a bad song on the album, and despite the occasional detour into teeth-rotting lyrics like "Drop me a note/Send me a line/Bring me good wishes from my lonely, funny valentine," the joy that went into making these delicious morsels is evident throughout, resulting in a great collection of songs to make out, break up, and get nasty in the back of an El Camino to.