10 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the past 15 years Portastatic singer/songwriter/guitarist Mac McCaughan has been (relatively) quietly producing a large body of high-quality, adventurous work as a solo artist and as part of semi-defunct Superchunk. On Bright Ideas he delivers another inventive album that never lets up. The flat-out brilliant songs (“I Wanna Know Girls,” “Truckstop Cassettes”) are surrounded by a mix of good ones, as McCaughan delivers one solid tune after another, each with its own charms. There’s high-energy, hyper-melodic power pop galore (“Through With People,” “White Wave,” “Little Fern,” “The Soft Rewind”) alongside tender and tuneful ballads (“Full of Stars”). The structure of McCaughan’s songs and attention to detail is stunning; jangly guitar chords are heightened by inspired use of keyboards and violin. Hooks and memorable choruses abound, with lyrics clever, fun and insightful. To pick just one of many memorable lines: “I wanna know girls/don’t wanna know men/I’m already stuck inside the head of one of them.” If you’re already a fan, you’ll love this. If you’re as yet unfamiliar, this is a great place to start.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the past 15 years Portastatic singer/songwriter/guitarist Mac McCaughan has been (relatively) quietly producing a large body of high-quality, adventurous work as a solo artist and as part of semi-defunct Superchunk. On Bright Ideas he delivers another inventive album that never lets up. The flat-out brilliant songs (“I Wanna Know Girls,” “Truckstop Cassettes”) are surrounded by a mix of good ones, as McCaughan delivers one solid tune after another, each with its own charms. There’s high-energy, hyper-melodic power pop galore (“Through With People,” “White Wave,” “Little Fern,” “The Soft Rewind”) alongside tender and tuneful ballads (“Full of Stars”). The structure of McCaughan’s songs and attention to detail is stunning; jangly guitar chords are heightened by inspired use of keyboards and violin. Hooks and memorable choruses abound, with lyrics clever, fun and insightful. To pick just one of many memorable lines: “I wanna know girls/don’t wanna know men/I’m already stuck inside the head of one of them.” If you’re already a fan, you’ll love this. If you’re as yet unfamiliar, this is a great place to start.

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