Kurt Bordian Novocaine

Power pop is what BC native Kurt Bordian delivers on his solo album, Novocaine. The 15 songs that crowd on to the 60 minute album all clock in between two-and-a-half to five minutes, never deviating from the familiar verse-chorus-verse-solo-chorus pattern. Within these strict self-imposed confines, Bordian does manage, at times, to construct some catchy featherweight tunes that seem radio ready and mildly amusing. On this effort, Bordian seems to be purging himself of some of his older material, with the first few tunes dating back to 1995. Fortunately, the songs do mature about halfway through with the country flavoured "Dana" and the album's highlight, the acerbic "Girl Don't Remember Me," adding some much needed punch. All the albums highpoints result from Bordian utilising his vocal range to add a little down-home flavour to the otherwise straight ahead sound. His hokey drawl, while being a little bit of a put on, is still more engaging than the flat delivery of most of the album's lyrics. The lead guitar work sounds clean and technically virtuoso, and credit must be given to Novocaine's use of piano and mandolin to liven up the narrow pop sound. Bordian's album is much like the substance that is its namesake - dulling, painless, but ultimately at least a little fun. (Independent)