Mo Troper, Exposure & Response (Good Cheer)
[POWER-POP] At the tender age of 25, Mo Troper has grown from a bleary-eyed punk to a classic-rock-loving crank. It's common for 20-something rockers to affix their gaze backwards at what their heroes' heroes were digging on when they were the same age, but it's not every day they document that voyage with a great power-pop album that praises the work of Big Star and the Replacements, and tees off on the old bastards who lord over "the kids" how they saw both those bands at defunct clubs.
At the heart of Exposure & Response, Troper's third solo effort atop a slew of side gigs, is a love-hate relationship with rock music and the gyre of bullshit that surrounds it. In less capable hands, dusting up punk tropes with the ironic wit of Randy Newman and the baroque bombast of Electric Light Orchestra is a precarious approach. Troper proves his mettle with the agitated callout of "Your Brand" ("Turn a tragedy into something you can work with/Keep your finger on the pulse that's in your pocket/Think about your brand") and "The Poet Laureate of Neverland," the aforementioned "fuck you" to aging scenesters who won't let it go.
Troper's seamless distillation of sounds stands out as the album's most obvious charm. Nowadays, any kid with a glockenspiel and a dog-eared copy of Our Band Could Be Your Life can inform their hardcore band that it's time to grow up and sound like Jellyfish. But the task of making earnest adult music that retains the reckless energy of youth is much harder than that. Existing in an industry filled with leeches and charlatans can be just as difficult, but Troper does a stellar job of turning the angst and annoyance of both into something fuzzy and infectious.
SEE IT: Mo Troper plays the Know, 3728 SE Sandy Blvd., with Cool American, Whitney Ballen and Seacats, on Friday, Dec. 1. 8 pm. $7. 21+.