Album of the Week: Mo Troper MTV

The power pop small size is the best. For years, bands across the map have been releasing short, sweet notes that typically play guitar and inevitably draw comparisons to Guided By Voices, masters of the figure. Some, like Bay Area’s Tony Molina, keep their track lists as fast and accurate as their songs, resulting in LPs with scandalous record brevity and consistency. Others, like second graders in Philadelphia, pile up paths like gender-based violence in their prime, navigating patterns and textures in pursuit of patchwork brilliance.

Mo Trooper, of Portland, errs on the latter side these days. For a good solid decade now, Troper has been shooting fancy guitar playing that pulls from a few different aesthetic traditions. His band in the early 2000s your opponent Giant hooks are covered in greater distortion, which puts them in line with the early Weezer and Joyce Manor. At about the same time also progress Sancho, a like-minded band with a more explosive sound indebted to emo, post-grunge, and Built To Spill. In 2016, Troper went solo, channeling his sound a little closer to classic pop (it’s not for nothing that one of his pandemic projects was an album-length cover pistol) keeping his chest close at hand and his horizons wide open.

Last year, Trooper released the mysterious title Delianti, a giant on a budget who demonstrated his skill and versatility over the course of 28 songs in 50 minutes. The self-released group immersed itself well beyond the traditional understanding of “power-pop,” which was in part the point. The small satirical musician “All My Friends Are Venmo” was packed with dry-cleaning-style talk verses, while the opening “Total Euphoria” was equal parts Madchester and nü metal. Talking to alternative Last year, he said the Falseto acoustic “Sugar & Cream” was “very obviously a fake musical” and dubbed the fake “Cum On My Khakis.” The idea was to build on the exhausting perfection that made 2020 Natural Beauty Such a pain to record, resulting in an endlessly pleasurable scattering of ideas.

come now MTV, his fifth solo album and first for Philly punk and indie base album Lame-O Records. (Despite what you might expect, the title is short Mo Trooper 5; I’m sure any references to Paramount Global properties are completely coincidental.) The new album continues DeliantiA mixture of styles and fidelity, it was reduced to 15 songs in 31 minutes and simplified slightly. The left turns here aren’t quite as sharp, and Troper seems less interested in pushing the boundaries of power-pop, though he inevitably does from time to time thanks to his unbridled inspiration. This time around, the focus is on capturing flawlessly inspired tracks, inspired by the spirit that impromptu demos are often more satisfying than a shimmering studio producer.

large pieces of MTV It can almost pass for some missing 6 Elephant artifact. Troper filters ’60s psychological pop with the DIY charm of ’90s lo-fi, but with a totally modern twist: his trusty bass often sounds up to helium puff levels, a production option that puts 20th-century influences into conversation with voices The twenty-first century chiptune emo’s signature. However, the vibe is exactly the same on tracks like the Beatles-y love song “I Fall Into Her Arms” and “Across The USA,” which lend a dreamy sheen to Trooper’s dazzling array of guitar melodies. The Byrds-Vintage band continues to feature on “Play Dumb,” a stark rejection of superficiality that manages to highlight each individual element, from jubilant piano chords to a dazzling bass line to snappy harmonious bars like “Past of Least Resistance Is Short for Acceptance/ Conversation is boring, but the fun never ends.”

A similar situation drives “No More Happy Songs,” in which Trooper sarcastically says, “I don’t care about your goodwill/You’re not rich enough to worship.” His wit was most refined in “The Only Living Goy In New York,” a fantastic 1960s folk play designed as Art Garfunkel’s response to Paul Simon. Trooper replaces the acoustic guitar and harmonica for that song with a distorted keyboard and drum machine in “You taught me how to write a song,” acknowledging, “I talk about you every day / I talk about you in therapy.” Still weirder and wilder is “Power Pop Chat,” a shape variant that cuts from longitudinal dissonance to the soaring shoegaze-y chorus that reminds me of early Cloud Nothings. It’s a big leap from hand-claps, shakers, and groaning on the fuzz guitar of “Waste Away,” but Troper held on to the landing.

“I made myself vomit for the second time today,” he admitted in “I’m the King of Rock and Roll,” early MTV One that serves as a stepping stone for enough guitar work to fill an entire record. Much like the album, it’s lyrically heavy and musically booming. And then, within seconds, he sings “Pink Rules” in high comic tone at barely a half-minute interval—a reminder that powerful guiding lights from the Beatles to gender-based violence have made room for absurdities alongside all-classics. Awe-inspiring. I’m not saying MTV As good as a white album or alien lanes. But if you like these records, there’s a good chance you’ll have a hard time getting that one too because there aren’t many people who make a better force than the Mo Troper at the moment.

MTV He’s out 9/2 on Lame-O.

Other albums of notes released this week:

• Megadeth The sick, the dying…and the dead
• Wonder Years The hum continues forever
• Armani Caesar Liz 2
• hour of living someday is today
• The Callous Daoboys’ celebrity healer
• Youngblod’s self-titled album
• Bill Orcott Music for four guitars
• SOHN trust
• Orchids dream type
• LOTION is a multinational company War in the digital world
• The Field Entropy is the main line of God
• Lee “Scratch” Berry King Scratch (Musical Masterpieces from the Surprised Ark-ive)
• Kris Kristofferson Live At Gilley’s – Pasadena, TX: September 15, 1981
• Unwrapped live leaves 10th Anniversary Edition
• The latest Stereolab’s Switched On . company early brain pulse
• Sarah Bonito from Kiro Kiro Bonito’s first EP as Cryalot, Icarus
• Front Bottoms there EP
• Bichen Bagas Bajascillators EP
• S. Raekwon I love it when you smile EP
• Debut Teens In Trouble’s EP

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