2008, Single Screen Records
The debut record from power-pop band The Powerchords has been a long time coming.
The band released their demo back in 2005, a seven song EP of finely crafted songs that immediately brought them to the forefront of San Diego’s music scene. But despite a rabid following and a reputation for excellent, charming live performances, the subsequent years saw only one Powerchords release—the Unattached Strings/Dream Girl 7-inch. Now, at long last, we have …Think I’m Gonna, a proper fourteen song collection of propellant punk and pop that will satisfy old fans and recruit new ones.
Opening track “Think I’m Gonna” bursts out of the starting gate and sets the album’s high-energy tone. Second track “Amygdala” continues that intensity, but just as any one song’s melodies worm their way into the listener’s brain, another leaps forward to take its place. “Throwing Up” is one of the catchiest songs on the album, with Jon Hammer’s instantly memorable chorus bookended by Seo Parra’s nimble guitar.
The Powerchords’ ability to construct intricate harmonies is one of their greatest strengths, and songs like “Bad Guys”, “Blow”, and “Dream Girl”—formerly the B-side to the aforementioned Unattached Strings—showcase that strength. The band’s gift for infectious melody blurs the line between verse and chorus as they continually rework sections, altering harmonies and tossing in unexpected changes as the songs progress.
Just about every song on the album is a lean, rapid-fire barrage of playful pop. On “She’s A Virgin”, Hammer brags how “It feels so good to know that I’m the only one”, and on “Letters”, Craig Barclift’s walking bass line breaks into a run, supplying the fuse that ignites the combustible ditty. “New Pheromones,” first heard on the band’s 2005 demo, demonstrates the band’s mastery of complex chord progressions and key changes that only serve the song, never distract from it.
The band allows their wit to shine through on the album’s last two songs. “Tia Carrere”, an ode to the Wayne’s World actress, features the rhyme “I wanna marry Tia Carrere-y”, and closing track “With You” finds them employing reverb-laden falsetto to imitate mockingbird sounds.
The album’s fourteen tracks clock in at a mere twenty-seven minutes, which is a bit disappointing, considering the amount of time it took for the record to come out; all of the great songs from their demo would have fit beautifully here. And though some songs near the middle of the album run together, there are more than enough slam dunks to make up for it.
The Powerchords possess a Beatles-like ability to craft concise songs that demand repeated listens. With …Think I’m Gonna, the band makes good on the promise of their demo, and positions themselves to become successors to genre heavies like The Buzzcocks and The Ramones. Hopefully another three years don’t go by before their next album because, when it finally is time for The Powerchords to try to top their debut, I think they’re gonna.