Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Archie Powell & The Exports perform at SausageFest yesterday, but here’s a review I did earlier for the Illinois Entertainer of their latest CD.
The sarcastically titled Great Ideas In Action continues singer-guitarist Archie Powell’s obsession with setting funny tales of blue collar angst to irresistible power pop arrangements that sound like a blend of Fountains Of Wayne and The dB’s. But even those who were impressed with his band’s 2010 full-length debut, Skip Work, will be bowled over by the brilliantly bitter lyrics and sheer energy of this next effort. Powell provides a high-speed tour of a world where a college degree guarantees nothing, petty criminals bicker like Celebrity Apprentice participants, and musicians question the value of touring or recording.
“Job Fair” depicts a guy willing to try any occupation available just keep his head above water, using quick rhymes like, “I’m considering my options for a new career/I’m either gonna be a florist or an auctioneer.” Powell spikes “Metronome” with observations like, “I gotta say life is a bitch for me and all the folks you know” and “You roll with the hits ‘til you’re in the nursing home.” Throughout these dark but engaging tracks, keyboards player Ryan Export keeps pace with Powell’s careening guitar while Adam Export and RJ Export provide a driving beat. Powell may sing, “I just hope we can hack it with the next LP/And look stupid to a lesser degree” on “Only So Much You Can Do,” he actually comes across as pretty clever on Great Ideas In Action.