Traces of the ‘90s have found their way into 2012. Archie Powell & The Exports embodies bitterness with catchy hooks to form a sound that is both nostalgic and fresh. From the start of the band’s third release, Great Ideas In Action, it sucks the listener in with its head bobbing infectious power and surf pop vibe. With their quirky riffs, swinging beats and offbeat harmonies, Archie Powell & The Exports is the underdog that everyone wants to see come out on top. This quartet is the missing link of the music scene.

Harmonious “ohh ohhs” matched with Archie Powell’s observant style of lyric writing makes for a sure hit during “Shooting Spree.” Most of the songs on Great Ideas In Action have a light sound to them, with the exception of “Bend Over Backwards.” The fourth number on the release has much deeper tones to it, is much groovier, and has a bit more distortion than the other pieces. The harder cut has a slicker sound that adds spice to the album. The band shows that they can play the soft card as well during the downer, “You Might Be Cruel (Or I Might Be Dumb).” The harmonica solo and community vocals help the song stand out alongside its upbeat brethren. The group can’t keep the mellowness for too long, however. No matter the direction the four-piece heads in with the songs on Great Ideas In Action, there isn’t one that is unbearable to listen to, which is refreshing.

The spark of hope that originality still exists is evident through the existence of Archie Powell & The Exports. The Chicago-based quartet is much like a unicorn—magical, but almost impossible to find.

In A Word: Outstanding

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