Feels like one great weight has been lifted off the world this past week. The world is still in the midst of a pandemic of course, but let’s celebrate the little bits of hope and light when we can. We needed a lift.

Music gives us a lift too. Balloons filled with helium may also give you a lift. An album of uplifting jangle pop with a cover image of a person floating away beneath dozens of colourful balloons is therefore an inviting prospect. Don’t know if the image on the cover of the latest album by LA power-pop band Exploding Flowers is a reference to the cover of Rain Parade’s classic “Emergency Third Rail Power Trip” album, but the music certainly shares a common lineage with the ‘Paisley Underground’ generation. Here’s the title track “Stumbling Blocks”:

The album is jam-packed with jangling ultra-melodic guitar pop that will appeal to fans of Rain Parade, Let’s Active, Windbreakers etc., (check the glorious “Timing is Everything” and “Amongst Burnt Out Stars” on the album). But it also has a more urgent post-punk ‘New Wave’ kind of power-pop energy throughout. That mix of complementary over-lapping styles, together with the quality of the songwriting and abundance of melodic twists and turns, keeps the album on the ‘high-rotate’ playlist at PopLib HQ.

“Stumbling Blocks” is available on CD from Canadian label The Beautiful Music, a consistently reliable source of underground jangle-pop and power-pop today. Check the excellent TV Personalities tribute album series TBM has curated over the past decade.