Un-American blokes

Moustache (Ark21 Records)
Farrah

By Kevin Gibson

Funny that back in the 1980s the American pop bands tried their darnedest to sound British. Here it is 2002, and this group of young Londoners sounds very much like American power-poppers. (Is there irony there? Or is it coincidence?)

Farrah (even the name invokes an American pop icon) has put together a collection of upbeat, happy, snappy three-minute pop joyrides that sound great blaring out of your speakers. If you begin to listen too closely, however, and you start to hear the worst possible scenario: shades of Blink182. "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" was arranged for 1970s Top 40 radio, but with its hint of modern pop punk (which isn't punk at all) sounds a little forced.

Then "Only Happy When She's Sad" stumbles in trying a little too hard to sound like vintage McCartney. Thirty seconds in, Farrah shifts gears and finds the boys back on the fast train with "Living for the Weekend." The transition works once and, while it's a decent try, repeated listens beat it down. "Lois Lane" makes an interesting companion to Five For Fighting's hit single of the spring, but it isn't until "Seventies Superstar" that Farrah finds itsself succeeding with kitschy nostalgic fun.

All in all, not a terrible release. If you love - and I mean LOVE - power-pop, this disc is worth a listen. Otherwise, it just sounds a little too familiar. And a little too American.