Following last year’s album ‘The Harvard Tango’, those retro pop kings The 1957 Tail-Fin Fiasco have returned with new music. A non-album single, ‘J Is For Genius’ takes a side step from their usual Steely Dan obsessions and gives listeners a dose of retro pop in a vastly different style.
Opening with a fat bass and busy riff, the song plays as if Malcolm and David have been overdosing on Gang of Four and XTC records during lockdown, and the quirky XTC vibes continue through the verse as a quirky vocal dances atop a busy riff. The band’s 70s love is made most obvious through a weird analogue keyboard sound that seems to have been lifted from an old KPM library music Schools & Colleges theme tune, but all the while, there’s something lurking beneath that suggests the old Tail-Fin aren’t so far away.
…And indeed, their more melodic side bursts through on a chorus loaded with their typical tongue in cheek humour. From a musical standpoint, it’s power pop stance owes far more to the material on ‘Harvard Tango’ than the more Dan derived early recordings, but a combination of fine riff, Mike Viola-ish vocal and insanely catchy hook mark this out to be the kind of track that’ll cause a long-term earworm. It’s a great example of how pop and social commentary can become easy bedfellows without feeling pious or heavy handed.
Take a listen to ‘J Is For Genius’ below.