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The Windbreakers | Time Machine (Paisley Pop)
Funny isn't it, that you can claim to be knowledgeable about a certain musical genre, and then an album comes along that not only blows your socks off but proves that - actually - you've heard nothin' yet. Take The Windbreakers, the Mississippi-based power pop duo of Bobby Sutliff and Tim Lee - who started out in 1982. I have to admit, they had passed me by and the loss was mine. Time Machine gathers together twenty years of jangly, percussive, spine-chilling power pop that deserves to stand alongside the very best of the genre - to my mind, Cheap Trick, the dBs, Greg Kihn etc. If you haven't heard of this wonderful band before, 'Time Machine' is a good enough place to start. It's choc-full of Roger McGuinn-style Rickenbacker-based songs like the singalong classic I'll Be There, with its wall of sound, Spectorish drums; New Red Shoes, with cascading piano and a niggly little guitar riff and Off And On, which is basically an A-to-Z of power pop. Apart from the odd drop in sound quality - inevitable, really when compiling from stuff recorded twenty years or so ago - the twenty tracks here are a fantastic insight into a band that will no doubt have passed many of us by on this side of the pond. Oh, and if you're still undecided about whether to invest your well-earned dosh in this little gem here's the decider - power pop god Mitch Easter plays on eleven songs and has been heavily involved in the production of many. That's it then. Great group, lousy name, who cares?

John Stacey
November-December 2004