JOE, MARC'S BROTHER - s/t

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Great Nashville power pop from the late 90s, a big seller at Not Lame while it was in print!

Joe, Marc's Brother is the rarest of things: a straightforward rock & roll album heavy on melody and devoid of pretension. With pop music becoming increasingly segregated from rock, Joe, Marc's Brother shamelessly bridges the gap with heartfelt ballads, surf rock, and quirky jazz-pop. "Catchy" is the buzzword here, with sunny rockers like "Ready to Change" and "Underwater" that are immediately accessible without sounding simple. "Spinning on an Axis" is one of the feel-good highlights, complete with handclaps and a chorus that dares the listener not to sing along. "Sleep My Friend" begins as a lullaby, but is far too explosive and infectious for anyone to sleep through. The album's masterpiece, though, is the wistful "Hide Away," which features only the voice and acoustic guitar of frontman Joe Pisapia and some faint background vocals. Some of the songs are hindered by awkward lyrics that struggle to fit into their allotted space, notably "Spinning on an Axis" and "A Hate Story," but the strength of their melodies usually carry them through. The vocal harmonies and guitar work remain superior throughout the album, while the capable production of Brad Jones, Robin Eaton, and Roger Moutenot is offbeat enough to reward multiple listens, but never overshadows the music itself.