The Washington Post
January 9th, 2004
MIKE SHUPP “This Time” Private Mind
There’s nothing complicated about Mike Shupp’s approach to power pop, nothing to dim the appeal of the jingle-jangle guitar work, the clipped, hammered rhythms or the crafty construction of three-minute odes and laments. On “This Time,” big hooks trump big ideas time and again.
Yet the former Big Bang Theory guitarist nevertheless has something to say, mostly concerning the ins and outs of relationships, and his lyrics tend to be as thoughtful as they are concise. His most intriguing songs neatly summarize personal history and lingering tension in a line or two, creating a love-hate dynamic on “Good Again” or swiftly setting the mood for “All Over Town,” a tale of obsession, sorrow and humiliation. Shupp’s sharp pop instincts are an even bigger plus, though, which is why a song as sad as “Came to This” packs a rhythmic punch, or why “She’ll Come Around” is likely to bring Marshall Crenshaw to mind. Shupp does a lot of multi-tasking here, playing guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion while getting a big, booting assist from drummer Chris Zogby. But “This Time” never sounds as if it were pieced together in the studio. More often than not, in fact, it’s like listening to a power-pop band having a good time in real time.
Appearing Tuesday at Velvet Lounge. • To hear a free Sound Bite from Mike Shupp, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8107. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)
— Mike Joyce
( January 9th, 2004 )
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