Jeremy Porter and the Tucos “Candy Coated Cannonball”

GTG Records, 2021

Power pop for teenagers played, really well, by their dads.

Opening with a rock and roll riff, and a Farfisa organ, ‘Put You On Hold’ is a solid slab of early sixties garage rock. However, it is country-tinged power pop that dominates ‘Candy Coated Cannonball’ by Jeremy Porter and the Tucos. Porter seems to have a good touch with a pop-rock song like ‘Dead Ringer’ about a girl who is a “Dead ringer, For a pop singer, I fell in love with on a record sleeve”. It’s lightweight, throwaway, bubble-gum pop produced with some panache; but there is little in the way of the influences the group cite from Uncle Tupelo and Gram Parsons through X to Hűsker Dű and Cheap Trick. Unfortunately.

There are a few diversions into more interesting territory.  ‘The Things All Men Do’ takes a slightly different direction, driven by heavier guitar riffs and picking up a trace of menace and, bizarrely, some mariachi horns. This then leads into the country-rock ballad ‘Downriver Song’ which chronicles the erosion of jobs and descent into terminal decline, possibly of small-town America. Although it could equally be an elegy for their economically destroyed home city of Detroit.

Porter previously played in local punk bands before moving into this power-pop style and there seems little of that left in the mix. Although the Stones can pull off a song called ‘Some Girls’ Porter really doesn’t have the swagger for ‘Girls Named Erica’, who it turns out “can be so boring”.

I am left with the impression that here we have some solid teenage rock and roll played by a band who might have developed a more complex and thoughtful approach, but have just become very good at what they do: good time power pop, with big riffs and poppy tunes. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


About Peter Tomkins 33 Articles
What brought me here? The Mekons, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Weddings Parties Anything, Blyth Power, Husker Du, Johnny Cash, Uncle Tupelo, Old 97s, Jerry Lee Lewis, Son Volt, Steve Earle, Bill Monroe, Sarah Shook, and on and on.
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