The Well Wishers (really, Jeff Shelton of the Spinning Jennies) has yet to put out an album that is anything less than solid. This album, their sixth, came out in January, but I’ve been waiting for the weather to get warmer before listening to it – The Well Wishers are best enjoyed on a sunny day.
I also hesitated because it’s hard to explain why I like them. Few of their songs are revolutionary or unique, though at the same time, they seem incapable of writing a bad song. Other reviewers identify their bright hooks, solid execution, and feel-good energy, but I think what attracts me to the Well Wishers is their unpretentiousness. There is absolutely nothing cool about playing 80s power pop a la The Romantics and Squeeze, itself a throwback to 60s Beatles/Kinks-like pop, and that’s what makes me want to root for them.
“Dreaming of the West Coast” is more of what we’ve come to expect: straight-up pop arrangements with just the minimally necessary amount of guitar fuzz, and a positive approach that would make a goth smile. The only bad song of the bunch is their cover of the ‘60s tune “Have Some More Tea” – too cheesy even for me.
It should be noted that like all good bands, the Well Wishers finally wrote a song called “Allison,” which stands up with the others.
Bottom Line: Shiny happy guitar pop.
Notable Tracks: Allison, Tonight, Here Comes Love, All I Got, Honoree, Mother Nature