THE MAYFLIES USA - Summertown

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For true pop fans, the mere mention of Chris Stamey’s name in reference to a record ensures a stamp of credibility and quality. So while I’d never heard of the Mayflies USA, when I heard Stamey, of the legendary dB’s, produced their debut I was intrigued.

Forming in 1996, this bunch of Chapel Hill chums namecheck 60’s British pop, Big Star, and Teenage Fanclub (all the holy grail of power pop) as their raison d’être. Shimmering, jangly guitars, killer hooks, and lush harmonies all bolstered by a strong beat are the order of the day on this promising addition to the 90’s pop renaissance.

The sound of a band proud to carry the banner for classic and alternative power pop groups from the 1960s to the 1980s. It sounds like a reviewer's cop-out, but how much you like this stuff seems to depend on how enamored you are of the form as a whole, rather than the content in particular. The songs are confidently executed and fairly melodic, but not exceptionally so. There are plenty of power chords, occasional psychedelic blips and a bit of a late-20th century metallic blur in some of the guitar parts. The songs are cheerful and literate, but not terribly deep. It can be given a no-holds-barred thumbs-up to fans of Big Star and Chris Stamey (who produced), yet could use more substance and personality. The lyrics guaranteed to provoke the most critical comment are found on "Down with Peter Green," inspired (obliquely, it seems) by the troubled original Fleetwood Macguitarist.