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Album Review

RESEARCH TURTLES
Damn!!!

For all of us who love power pop, the Research Turtles have landed! Just who are the Research Turtles, you ask? Watch and listen, first. Answers later.

If that didn't get the blood pumping a bit, maybe you just don't have the old power pop gene. I found I had it when writers Greg Shaw, Ken Barnes, Alan Betrock and Jon Tiven dragged me through the modernized fifties and sixties music Shaw labeled “Power Pop” back in the mid-70s. Not exactly pop and not exactly fifties and sixties, it gave a reverent nod to the old while updating the sound and feel. And to those with the gene, it was exhilarating!

It still is, but to be honest, for every hundred bands out there attempting to play it, only one has the chops, if that. It takes more than an ability to lay down a few chords, mimic Brit Pop harmonies and clone a Beatles riff or two. It takes (now, don't laugh) heart! It's true! You have to not only love the music, you have to love playing the music. Of course, that's not hard to do when you have the likes of Jud Norman writing the tunes. The guys dips his fingers in everything from The Kinks to The Beatles to The Shoes to any number of bands who painted from the same bucket. Not only that, his voice was born for this music.

Add the solid bass and drumming of Jud Norman and Blake Thibodeaux, the stellar guitar work of Joe Norman and lead guitarist Logan Fontenot and you have what power pop is supposed to be: hook-laden, solid and exhilarating.

I'm going to be honest with you. I have a tendency to get more than a bit rambunctious when I hear music that strikes a chord, sometimes falling just short of parading down Broadway banging a bass drum, so I passed this one by the only two people I trust to keep me honest. Here's what they said:

“Three thumbs up. Yeah, this is the real power pop deal. I love this kind of stuff. The Records, The Beat, The Plimsouls, etc. Can't get enough. I'm even man enough to admit that I love the first (The) Knack album.” --- Stan Twist

That's pretty groovy stuff. They're a bit of The Shoes, The Knack, The Smithereens, Cheap Trick, and I even heard a Beatle guitar quote in there on the song Cement Floor. I heard a measure from Helter Skelter during the solo. Nice.” ---Howie Wahlen

So, if you will excuse me, I need to dig the old bass drum out of the closet, dust it off and head for Broadway. The pickings have been lean for us power poppers lately. There are a lot of people out there who will want to know, and if these guys say Research Turtles are the real deal, I believe them. And I believe in the Research Turtles. I can't wait to hear what they do next.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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