"Under The Arrows" has it all for the genuine power pop fans, chugging, melodic rhythms, powerful hooks, angelic vocals, verses that tickle `n hint at `the great money shot of a classic chorus and a respectful homage to pop peers. Those inspirations include the Shoes, The Posies, Nada Surf and Matthew Sweet. This 2nd album from Jeff Shelton, who plays almost everything on this release, is their next bold evolutionary step taking all the elements that made the debut, Twenty-Four Seven, such a favorite for many Not Lame fans.
Like that album, "Under The Arrows" has plenty of rich, melodic tracks which driven heavily by acoustic guitars; warm ringing electric guitars, and cascading vocal harmonies punctuated by Shelton`s penchant for elaborate pop arrangements. The end result is a big, full-bodied album that transcends the staleness of commercial-rock and forgettable pop cliches. But what is new here, what displays a confident flexing of creative muscle is a restless spirit to take what was natural of The Well Wishers` past and take that vision into some new places. Where that is most evident is on songs such as the elegiac, dreamy quality founds on "Before The Race Was Won" which sounds like the great, transcendent lost track from the "Dear 23" sessions of The Posies. The echoes of The Hollies are all over the place. Similarly, "Lost At Sea" mixes the classic balladry of, say, "Karen" by Shoes and combines it with the gorgeous, sparkling jangle of Toad The Wet Sprocket and The Ocean Blue. At the base of all these songs is the acoustic guitar. Lots of it, always driving the rhythms with those stringed swells comes a raw emotionalism that paints melodies that just ring true. This is not maudlin pop, it`s filled with life, a vision to look at the best in people all reflected wonderfully in power of the music. Well Wishers, indeed.
"Jeff Shelton continues to be one of power pops best
kept secrets. First, with the Spinning Jennies and
now with The Well Wishers, Shelton bashes out melodic
rockers that blend a Posies-like 60`s pop base with
the energy and guitar crunch of greats like Cheap
Trick and Redd Kross. This is probably best
exemplified on the penultimate track, "Brain Trust
Odyssey". Shelton gets things going with a careening
guitar riff that bursts out of the speakers with a
nice thick yet ringing tone. This song verges on
pop-punk (in a classic Buzzcocks/Undertones sense), to
give you an idea of its muscularity. The big riff is contrasted by some gentler chording in the verses, which sets up a perfect chorus..
"Californian Jeff Shelton has done his bit for the pop underground cause. Whether it is with the Who-channeling power trio The Spinning Jennies or his current incarnation, the slightly poppier Well Wishers, Sheltons craft has never been too far from discerning power pop fans preferred listening habits. Now, the Well Wishers has blessed us with a sophomore effort, Under the Arrows. Essentially, if you enjoyed the fine debut release then, you will certainly thrill to Sheltons concoction of melodic hooks, jaunty rhythms and power chords. There is also a higher level of poignant folky moments e.g. "Before the Race Was Run," "Lost At Sea," and "Lucky You" which provides a good change of pace. For me, it`s Sheltons healthy approximation of the Guided by Voices oeuvre with "In Search Of Alter Egos," "Break It Up" and "Brain Trust Odyssey (now doesnt that even sound like a Robert Pollard
title?) that makes Under the Arrows a worthy investment."-Night Times.
While a Well Wishers disc of wall-to-wall rockers would likely be great, Shelton would be doing himself a disservice if he didn`t include some mellower material. For one thing, it plays to his vocal strengths. I can`t help but note that Shelton sounds a fair amount like Jon Auer as a vocalist, and that`s a real good thing, in my book.. This album shows that you can make adult power pop.. With two top-notch efforts in a row, Shelton has established The Well Wishers as a band you can count on to deliver a quality album."-Fufkin.com.
This is quote from The Power Of Pop, an online zine, that really captures the excitement of The Well Wishers and serve not only the debut well, but "Under The Arrows". "How can anyone get tired of the sheer musical passion and melodic intensity that quality power pop offers? Chiming Rickenbacker arpeggios, charming tunes, power chord dynamics, walls of harmonies, frenetic drum work, jaunty rhythms, orchestral constructs there is no limit to what artistic power pop can sound like. As much as I enjoyed the work of Jeff Sheltons Spinning Jennies, Ive always thought that Jeff could do much more than the driving guitar pop that his group excelled in.
I was right!
The Well Wishers is.. perhaps one of the best power pop albums of the year..Jeffs crowning achievement is to sustain a consistent flow throughout to produce a kaleidoscopic presentation of our beloved artform."
Only Sky (Full Song) - mp3
In Search Of Alter Egos - mp3
Lost At Sea - mp3
Double Vision - mp3
Before The Race Was Run - mp3
Brain Trust Odyssey - mp3