THE dB’s – Falling Off The Sky (Bar-None)

Bar-None Records seems to be in the business of bringing Hoboken’s Eighties glory days back to life; first the label released the first Feelies album in 19 years, and now there’s Falling Off The Sky, which reunites the four original dB’s after a 30 year hiatus.

Amazingly, the venerable North Carolinian power-poppers sound reborn, infusing their trademark hooks with elemental garage-rock organ (on Peter Holsapple’s stomping “That Time Is Gone,”) Big Star twinkle (Chris Stamey’s playfully psychedelic “The Adventures of Albatross and Doggerel,”) and even a bit of country hokum (a surprise lead vocal by drummer Will Rigby on the Buck Owens-meets-Ringo “Write Back.”) If anything, the years have added a gravity and maturity that the original dB’s never owned; check out Holsapple’s bitter post-Katrina lament “She Won’t Drive In The Rain Anymore,” or the wistful nostalgia of Stamey’s “Far Away And Long Ago.” But at their best – on tracks like “World To Cry,” which could easily have been an outtake from the band’s underrated third LP, Like This, or the horn-driven “The Wonder Of Love” – the dB’s prove that great power-pop can be as ageless and enduring as rock ‘n’ roll itself.

– Jim Testa