Cosmic Rough Riders Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine

This is a fine example of Scottish guitar pop at its best. Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine couldn't be a more appropriate title for this collection of bright, jangly, downright brilliant songs primarily pulled from their first two independently produced albums, Deliverance and Panorama. We have former Creation Records honcho Alan McGee to thank for this one, who saw them play in their native Glasgow and signed them right away to his new label, Poptones. Although released late last year in the UK, North American distribution is on its way, and of all the bands on the Poptones roster, Cosmic Rough Riders is one of the best exports they have to offer. There's really not a bad song on this album - picking singles must be quite the challenge. The album is a great mix of psychedelic retro-'60s pop, akin to the Elephant 6 posse of bands, combined with an updated, smooth production that makes this a perfect summer record. Multi-layered vocal harmonies and a wash of guitars, both acoustic and electric, remind me of their fellow countrymen (and former Creation family members) Teenage Fanclub, who McGee freely admits his sonic obsession with. As such, his instant fondness for these lads shouldn't come as a big surprise. Singer Daniel Wylie and guitarist Stephen Fleming are responsible for most of the songs and seem to have the Midas touch - songs like "Baby, You're So Free," "The Loser" and "Melanie" showcase their uncanny skills at top-notch pop. Lyrically, though, things get interesting, as Wylie seems to follow a curious Scottish tradition of mixing happy sounding music with rather melancholic lyrics. Love found and lost are the order of the day, and on "The Pain Inside," Wylie laments "I used to believe it would last forever, till you stuck a knife in my heart, by making me choose between love and art." Pain and heartbreak aside, the music makes it almost impossible not to bob your head and smile throughout this album's 14 tracks. Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine is more than a title, it's a direct order. I suggest you comply. (Poptones)