Down At the Hop

With seven years between Down At the Hop and preceding release – 1996’s Kim Fowley-produced “Theme Park” – it’s comforting to know that the Bandits are still able to deliver sun-kissed Beach Boys-obsessed pop like they’ve never been away.

Now reduced to the core of Duglas Stewart, Francis MacDonald and Gabriel Telerman, it’s a great pleasure to see the Bandits carrying the flag of Scottish pop high in the absence of the late great Eugenius and the AWOL Teenage Fanclub.

And it’s a terrific comeback as the trio with the assistance of, inter alia, David (Pearlfishers) Scott and Norman (Teenage Fanclub) Blake produces an album of witty and melancholy sunshine pop songs that never overstays its welcome.

The Landy-era Brian Wilson-channeling “I’m In Such Great Shape” where lines like “She gets naked, I go ape” get the attention, the hilarious over-the-top “Miss Nude Black America,” the wistful “Love At the Hop,” the wry jaunty Bacharach-evoking “Death and Destruction,” the breezy cautionary “The Road of Love is Paved with Banana Skins,” the widescreen Spector-ian “Back In Her Heart” and the lovely Sunflower referencing “Back in Your Arms” confirm Down At The Hop as the vibrant pop treat every like-minded enthusiast can only ignore at their grave peril. A

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