15 Songs, 1 Hour 4 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Wesley Harding’s first studio album, after a live album and EP, introduces a literate singer-songwriter who bears more than a passing resemblance to Elvis Costello. Throw in Elvis Costello’s rhythm section — Pete and Bruce Thomas — a tight no-nonsense production from Andy Paley, a pub-rock vibe and a love for classic underrated power pop and you’ve got a formula not far removed from the obvious comparison. Yet, there’s plenty here to distinguish Harding as his own writer and vocalist. “Cathy’s New Clown” may recall the Everly Brothers (while “Spaced Cowgirl” merely quotes Steve Miller without emulating his sound) and the title track thrills on an organ that’s classic rock and new wave brought together for perfect effect, but tracks such as “The Devil In Me,” and “You’re No Good” with solid, assured grooves, prove Harding is more than just a student of good music; he's a smooth stylist whose lack of pretension and natural comfort with pop music make him easy to overlook.

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Wesley Harding’s first studio album, after a live album and EP, introduces a literate singer-songwriter who bears more than a passing resemblance to Elvis Costello. Throw in Elvis Costello’s rhythm section — Pete and Bruce Thomas — a tight no-nonsense production from Andy Paley, a pub-rock vibe and a love for classic underrated power pop and you’ve got a formula not far removed from the obvious comparison. Yet, there’s plenty here to distinguish Harding as his own writer and vocalist. “Cathy’s New Clown” may recall the Everly Brothers (while “Spaced Cowgirl” merely quotes Steve Miller without emulating his sound) and the title track thrills on an organ that’s classic rock and new wave brought together for perfect effect, but tracks such as “The Devil In Me,” and “You’re No Good” with solid, assured grooves, prove Harding is more than just a student of good music; he's a smooth stylist whose lack of pretension and natural comfort with pop music make him easy to overlook.

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