Highlights: Terra Nova, Conversations, Change, Goodbye To All That
If the name of this band pops up in a conversation (a highly unlikely conversation, one might think), soon enough you will start talking about The Replacements. Which is kind of inevitable. Back in the 80’s, Pedaljets released two albums full of songs that an uninspired Paul Westerberg could have come up with. Still, I had high hopes for this comeback, and I’m happy to report: 25 years after 1988’s Today Today, Pedaljets finally prove that they may have been great songwriters all along.
“Terra Nova” is an effective lead-off single that balances the band’s rougher, Detroit rock side, with a terrific vocal hook. “Riverview” is more of the same, only minus the hook, which makes it a bit generic. Thankfully, we then have a major highlight in the delightfully melodic “Conversations”, whose piano and acoustic guitar rhythm rolls on in a truly classic, slightly Bowie-esque way. The middle eight is unmistakably Beatlesque. Then the opening organ of “Change” reinstates your suspicion that the long wait has been worthwhile. This is strong songwriting. You do stumble upon a rather predictable rocker once or twice, but the overall impression is great. The riff of “Nature Boy” is tastefully rough and memorable. The anthemic “Goodbye To All That” has a tune to kill for.
In a recent interview with Pedaljets, I’ve read that they actually consider What’s In Between their best album. No argument here. All the best sides of the band are represented, and the album is simply a joy to listen to. Stylistically, nothing has changed, but that’s not really an issue when the songs are this good. So that next time my hand might reach for Tim or Pleased To Meet Me, I will think twice.