When you've a proven singer/songwriter and you've situated yourself on a solid, power-pop bedrock, worthy of icons ranging from the Posies to Shoes, and even Sloan, the only logical place to go is down...right? At the very least consider The Well Wishers fifth full length salvo, A View From Above, a lateral move with intermittent imaginative spurts. For all intents and purposes, the WW is a one-man show, namely Jeff Shelton, whose been at this game for the better part of three decades, beginning in the mid-90s helming the Spinning Jennies, and this isn't the first time I've covered his music.
Shelton is a stickler for the line-drive approach to performing - a defiant straight shooter armed with a cascade of fuzzy power chords and linear but earnest sentiments. It's not the most innovative formula, yet "I Like You Better" and "Never Let You Down" are pulled off with an airtight acumen a lot of his peers would be envious of, if only for the fact that he makes it look/sound So. Damn. Easy. By and large, A View... is cut from the same cloth of earlier WW records like Comes and Goes and Dreaming of the West Coast - so much so these albums sound indistinguishable. But just when you think he's content to stay on the straight and narrow, we're graced with a few tangents, the bulk of which crop up on the album's second half. The rumbling "Is it Me, Is it You" plugs into the ballsy swagger of early Cheap Trick, "Ways and Means" is a subdued slice of lilting jangle, and "New Fade Out" eschews the power pop penchant almost altogether in favor of a something distinctly more contemplative than what we're accustom to hearing from Shelton. All and all, not a bad place for WW neophytes to jump in, and there's plenty here to keep his loyal listeners piqued.
A View From Above is available as we speak via Bandcamp, Amazon and iTunes.
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