2018 Not Lame Media
Michael Simmons is a genius.
John Borack rules behind the kit.
Honestly, I don’t need to say much more than that. I mean, the band has promised (threatened) to release an album for many years. They’ve released countless individual songs here and there since the early 2000’s and they could have easily just compiled those and made a solid record. What they’ve done instead is mix a handful of those songs with many that we were unaware that they’ve recorded.
While Simmons handles most of the lead vocals throughout the album, there are several other Popdudes that appear here as well. Robbie Rist, Kenny Howes, Michael Carpenter and Torbjorn Petersson each take turns up front.
The common thread in all of these tracks: The Popdude himself, John Borack. He plays drums on all but one track (and on that one he is the primary songwriter).
Michael Simmons can sound like anyone at any time. He can be Jeff Lynne (“Xanadu”) Paul McCartney (“With a Little Luck,” “Live and Let Die” and “Listen to What the Man Said”) or Robin Zander (“Hello There/On Top of the World”) at the drop of the hat. As Borack noted in the liner notes for Maximum Rock Stupidity, upon hearing the Popdudes rendition of “I Almost Forgot” Matthew Sweet himself asked “Is this me?”
The album plays like a perfect classic rock afternoon drive, if there still was such a thing. “The Logical Song” going right into “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” just makes sense.
Popdudes are not a cover band though. Oh, they could be as they certainly have the chops and deep musical knowledge to pull covers out of the air and blow you away. (Listen to “Elenore” and tell me that is better than the original.) The half-dozen originals in this collection speak volumes for what they could (and should) do for their next album.
Maximum Rock Stupidity is available with John Borack’s latest book, Shake Some Action 2.0: An Updated Guide to the 200 Greatest Power Pop Albums 1970-2017 through Good Guy Music/Not Lame Media
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