Midwest Pop at its Best

Superimpose (Beat Parlor)
Brian Lovely

By Kory Wilcoxson

If you were not paying attention, it would be easy to mistake "Captain Righteous," the first song on "Superimpose," for a classic pop offering from XTC's salad days. Not only are the lyrics reminiscent of the British pop band's nose-thumbing irreverence, but also Brian Lovely's voice is a dead ringer for Andy Partridge.

Comparing Lovely with XTC is high praise and Lovely deserves every accolade for this pop masterpiece. Lovely, a well-known name in the Cincinnati music scene, has crafted a collection of smart tunes that showcases his formidable prowess and clever songwriting ability that borders on greatness.

On "Superimpose," his first solo album, Lovely mines familiar territory with a freshness that is sorely lacking in most pop albums. The laundry list of complaints on "Struggle" would have been monotonous in the hands of a lesser songwriter, but Lovely's sound byte images are sly and intelligent: "Natural disasters make it a struggle out there/ Greedy little bastards make it a struggle out there."

Most of the songs deal with fairly conventional takes on relationships ("The Day After," "She's Everything"), but do so with breezy energy and innovative melodies. Lovely employs a pseudo Cal-pop Beach Boys sound that is a perfect fit for pop pleasures like "Disappear" and "Blue, Blue Sky." Lovely's penchant for wordplay and vivid imagery help make "Superimpose" one of the most enjoyable Midwest pop albums to come down the pipe in a while.