William Beckett, who plays very excellent power pop, both with his previous band The Academy Is… (whose final album Fast Times at Barrington High I reviewed here) and now as a solo artist, tweeted the other day that he’d be making times available for in-house concerts. And I was all, wait, this is a thing that can happen? I’ve had terribly bad luck trying to see Beckett live. He’s either been appearing near my home when I am off touring, or touring elsewhere when I was home — or on a couple of occasions, in the same town I was touring in, starting his gig the same time I was doing mine. But now I can have him come to my house and entertain me while I relax and have snacks in my ridiculously large chair? Done and done.
And nicely timed for me, since his solo debut album, Genuine & Counterfeit, came out a couple of weeks ago and we’ve been grooving on it here at the Scalzi compound (Athena is also a fan). If you’re familiar with Beckett’s previous work, both with TAI and with his three solo EPs, then this album will be familiar territory: Beckett’s got a way with power pop hooks and smartly post-emo longing, both of which make G&C right up my personal listening alley. The album is loosely thematic, in that it tracks the course of a relationship from first blush through its ups and downs, with each track hitting a particular moment of drama.
In that way, it’s a good companion piece to Barrington, which was also loosely thematic. If that album was about being on the verge of having to grow up, this is the one about actually learning to be a grown up, and being a grown up with one other person. Also like Barrington, it’s describing a time of life which I am well out of (18 years of marriage! Happy marriage! It’s a thing!), but it doesn’t mean I can’t reach back and remember what this was like. Humans don’t change that much. So it speaks to me. Since the individual songs work just fine as their own poppy moments, you don’t have to think about any of this if you don’t want to. But if you do, it’s there. Which I think is how it should work most of the time.
In short: Catchy and not at all dumb; easy to listen to, with enough upstairs to make it memorable, to me, anyway. I like it a lot; you might too. Can’t wait to catch the live show.