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coverpic flag US - Illinois - Full Moon 176 - 01/19/11

Three Hour Tour
Looking For Tomorrow

Looking For Tomorrow is Darren Cooper's Champaign, Illinois-based outfit Three Hour Tour's return to shelves. It's a follow-up to B Side Oblivion (2007). Before that there was the singles collection album 1969 (1996). Darren Cooper is a multi-talented veteran of many pop bands, including the 1980s group Choo Choo Train -- a band featuring Ric Menck and Paul Chastain, who later started the semi-legendary Velvet Crush. Chastain contributes to Looking For Tomorrow, which is a true power pop gem. Vintage power pop, old school style, done with punch and pride. Not to forget powerful melodies strutting with catchiness.

Velvet Crush is a good reference to pinpoint Three Hour Tour, as is the world of Matthew Sweet. Add Bob Mould's pop-muscular Sugar, plus the Posies, Guided By Voices, and Myracle Brah, and we're just about there. One could also mention classic 1970's acts like Raspberries, Badfinger and Big Star. And, one might also mention 1960's bands like The Who and The Small Faces, just to make sure to draw the full line backwards. Darren Cooper has written 9 of the 10 tracks, the last one is a loose and brilliant take on The Who's "Heaven and Hell". The other players are: Adam Schmitt (bass, keyboards), drummers John Richardson (Gin Blossoms, and others) and Brad Elvis (of The Romantics, Handcuffs, Elvis Brothers), and the aforementioned Paul Chastain (who's also played with Matthew Sweet).

Looking For Tomorrow is probably looking more for yesterday than tomorrow music-wise. yet it's a solid and delicious record if you're into pure, pleasant power-pop. Clocking in at 36 minutes it's also a perfectly lengthy record, if you're asking me. Opener "Pig In Disguise" is Matthew Sweet meets Bob Mould's Sugar, and a good starter for the album. This and the following songs prove Darren Cooper to be a song-smith crafting his tunes with passion and skill (and he's a great guitar player). No bullshit, no fake make-up, simply stripped elegance. The only problem is that it might - sometimes - sound too perfect. But, by all means... this aside Looking For Tomorrow is half an hour of good company. Just check "All Time Low" and "Dead Reckoning". And the Who cover. Thumbs up.

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