There’s really no use fighting that this album will get filed under the power pop category, but there’s much more to it than that modifier suggests. Nourallah knows his way around the Beatles-esque hook, no doubt, but he also knows how to play against that hook with surprising arrangement touches. Opener “38 Rue de Sevigne” starts as a soft ballad, but flashes of electricity playfully interrupt, portending its eventual acceleration. The witty character sketch “Travolta” openly hints at disco during the verses, then gives way to power chords at the chorus. “Goddamn Life” uses a circular guitar riff as both a thematic motif and its melodic hook. Every song holds some kind of subtle invention that rewards repeated listening. And as much as Nourallah is a craftsman of pristine pop, here he’s also surrounded himself with a band that doesn’t mind tracking a little mud on the carpet. The end result is fairly magical: power pop that transcends its own genre.
Salim Nourallah on Amazon