The Upshot: Erstwhile Rave-Ups frontman continues his comeback with roots and power pop manifestos simultaneously muscular and poignant.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The return of Jimmer Podrasky to action after nearly three decades has been a rewarding arc to watch. 2014’s wonderful platter The Would-Be Plans reminded everyone of just how good a singer and songwriter the former leader of the Rave-Ups was and still is. Working with the same group of folks with whom he made Plans, Podrasky now offers up a worthy follow-up with God Like the Sun. (Go HERE to read our previous review of The Would-Be Plans.)
As with his previous LP, the L.A. denizen straddles the Rave-Ups line between roots rock and power pop, leaning toward the former in a set of tunes with easy appeal. Having exorcised plenty of demons on Plans, he sounds more relaxed here, more apt to sing from a less intensely personal perspective, with humor that’s less gallows and more sardonic. Thus the folk-rocking “Half a Dad” and “Shoot the Moon” can be both poignant and funny, a difficult trick to pull off. It’s a talent Podrasky injects into the more rocking songs as well, from “Your Heaven or Mine?” to “(I’m in Love With) a Girl We All Know” to “The Ballad of Addie Polk.” Podrasky works with the same sympathetic crew as before – singer/songwriters Ted Russell Kamp and Brian Whelan understand how to accompany the kind of tunes Podrasky writes, and drummer/producer Mitch Marine creates sympathetic settings for every cut. Podrasky also invites iconoclastic thrush Syd Straw to duet on the deceptively titled “You Can Count On Me.”
Even at his most melancholy, Podrasky sounds happy to be in front of the mic with a guitar in his hand, keeping the ball started by The Would-Be Plans rolling and his talent in full flower.
DOWNLOAD: “(I’m in Love With) a Girl We All Know,” “You Can Count On Me,” “Your Heaven or Mind?”