Title:The Finders
band:The Finders
Label:Squid Music
Highlights:Talk To Me
Don't Let It
I've Had It
Sweet Little User

The Finders were an early eighties power pop band from San Francisco that were strongly influenced by British pop bands such as The Who, Small Faces and The Move. At the time they only released two singles, Which Way/It's So Insane and Calling Dr. Howard/Bad Food. This CD release not only contains these two singles but eight previously unreleased tracks that were destined to comprise the band's debut album. Hearing these tracks now highlights just what a waste it was not to release them in the first place as they would have had a lot of commercial appeal, given the right promotion.

Interestingly, the two worst songs on this CD are both from the band's second single. Both Bad Food and Calling Dr. Howard both have a novelty approach that quickly loses it's appeal. However, the rest of the songs more than make up for these two tracks. Talk To Me, Hideaway and Sweet Little User could find a place on any 70's power pop compilation while my favourite track is It's So Insane with it's cool saxophone break.

The Finders represented the more commercial side of rocking power pop, much in the vein of the Romantics and Raspberries and to the band's credit they can still hold their own along these more well known bands. With their big power chords, loud and catchy choruses, 20 second guitar solos and a Jam like urgency, I can't help but like the Finders (with a description like that how could you not?). Anyone with more than a passing interest in power pop will find a lot enjoyment from this CD.

Title:Fresh Set-O-Prints
Band:The Finkers
Label:Stolen Records
Highlights:This Time It's Love
Adeline Now
Can't Wait
Going Out On A High
Know That You Now

Fresh Set-O-Prints is a consistent yet slightly patchy debut album from Sydney power poppers The Finkers, who are reminiscent of such bands as Big Star, Teenage Fanclub and The Someloves. Composed of members from such noteworthy bands as The Pyramidiacs, The Crusaders, The Intercontinental Playboys and The Slaters, the Finkers could be described as an Australian power pop supergroup. While Fresh Set-O-Prints is full of great songs, such as This Time It's Love and Can't Wait, The Finkers let themselves down by including several throwaway tracks, which disturbs the overall continuity of the album. Thankfully, these songs are quickly forgotten when the power chords of Now That You Know come crashing in. All considered, The Finkers probably would have been better off releasing the best 6 or 7 songs on an extremely strong mini-album, which would have better highlighted the band's talents. Nevertheless, Fresh Set-O-Prints is still an enjoyable album that fans of Australian power pop should be rushing out to buy.

Title:Double Back & Go
Label:The Finkers
Label:Stolen Records
Highlights:100 Watt Ronson
Pretty As A Picture
Last Thing On My Mind
Up To You

Double Back And Go is the increasingly prolific Finkers second album and is an improvement on their debut in all areas. This is timeless Australian power pop lead by the sparkling vocals and dynamic bass playing of Michael Carpenter. However, what makes Double Back And Go such a pleasure to listen to, are all the little things you don't expect on your average power pop record, whether it be the slide guitar in 100 Watt Ronson, the theremin in Twin Swing Action, the saxophone in Long Forgotten One or the beautiful Hammond break in Teenage Crush. While they don't always hit the mark, (Go Go Devils and Daphne Green are both pretty ordinary, the highs more than make up for the lows, as no better exemplified in Try and Up To You, two of the finest pop songs you could ever hope for.

Title:Hallelujah Rock'n'Rollah
Band:The Flaming Sideburns (Finland)
Label:Bad Afro Records
Highlights:Loose My Soul
Blow The Roof
World Domination
Soul Survivor
Stripped Down

Bamalama! The Flaming Sideburns hail all the way from Finland (via Argentina) and by all accounts are one of the most exciting rock n roll bands around Scandinavia (or the world for that matter). They started out playing 60's styled rhythm & blues in small Helsinki clubs but the release of Hallejuah Rock n Rollah (the band?s first proper full-length album) sees them embracing a more 70's styled rock and roll approach ala The Rolling Stones, Iggy & The Stooges and Loaded-era Velvet Underground. The result is one of the best rock albums of last year that mixes full on rock assault (Loose My Soul, World Domination) with soulful grooves (Soul Survivor, Up In Flames). While it may be too slick and accomplished for some garage fans, Hallelujah Rock?n?Rollah should see the Flaming Sideburns makes new fans and cross over to a larger audience without compromise.

Title:Nine By Nine
Band:The Fletcher Pratt
Label:Laughing Outlaw / Rainbow Quartz Records
Spin Label
Million Miles

Nine By Nine is the debut album for Detroit band, The Fletcher Pratt, who it seems have since disbanded. On Nine By Nine they play what you could call energetic power pop with quite a few sixties influences also infiltrating the mix, not unlike a cross between Elvis Costello, The Byrds and The Who. Their strong rhythm section helps lift the band above your average independent-pop band but I'm not impressed with either of the band's overly nasal vocalists. This is a shame because they have some good songs, which don't really come across as strong as they could have.