[JURASSIC POP] They don’t make ’em like this any more. Just a few gravesites down from Chevy Novas, Ray-Bans and capital-S Sincerity lies pop rock as it existed before the invention of the fuzz pedal—romantic, fearless, escapist—and New Move won’t rest until it’s resurrected. With this new release, frontman and mad pop scientist Jesse Bettis presents a re-alchemized companion to New Move’s 2016 self-titled debut, infusing the studied, classic-pop roux of that album with a range of Portland flavors. Bettis doesn’t just feature local talent on his songs, he allows them to make the songs theirs. Y La Bamba takes “When Did We Stop” from plinky, optimistic doo-wop to sweeping, horn-topped Latin euphoria, while Chanti Darling totally reinvents straight-ahead rock ballad “The City Life” with clubby R&B sex appeal. Radiation City’s take on “No One But Her” could be easily mistaken for the last-ever Rad City song, with muted, loungey percussion and saxophone and thickly stacked harmonies relishing the runs between notes. In an anyone-can-whistle contemporary pop landscape that often favors the unfinished edges of the novice, this album’s vision is expansive—more L.A. than Portland, frankly, with an unabashed taste for the glossy, the glamorous and the perfect. It’s a manifesto on the unshakable virtues of classic pop, and it is solidly convincing.
Isabel is a writer, musician and radio broadcaster from Kansas. She was the 2014 recipient of the University of Oregon's Kidd Prize in Poetry, and her narrative journalism has appeared in Oregon Quarterly, Willamette Week, About Face Magazine and Eugene Weekly. She is an Aquarius/Capricorn cusp but understands if you think astrology is bullshit.