THE SPINTO BAND – The Shy Pursuit (Park the Van)

Quick, name a rock ‘n’ roll band from Delaware. Give up? How about the Spinto Band? These power-pop nerds have quietly persevered for an incredible 16 years; The Shy Pursuit is just the group’s third full-length release since the debut Nice And Nicely Done first brought the band some national attention in 2006.

But like the similarly long-lived Fountains of Wayne, the Spinto Band has been crafting clever lyrics and impeccable hooks swathed in dreamlike harmonies for so long that the excellence here seems second-nature. In a just world, “Take It” would be nudging Carly Rae Jepsen and Fun. off the Hot 100 and completely dominating summer radio; its earwig melodies, charming harmonies, stinging guitar solo, and hooky basslines make it one of the standout tracks of 2012. The infectious Afro-beats of “Muesli” gives Vampire Weekend a quick kick in the pants, while the gorgeous “Cookie Falls” recalls Belle & Sebastian at their most effusive.

Musicianship has become an underrated asset in this era of chillwave, chiptune, and sampled riffs, but really, is there anything more beautiful than the perfect guitar solo? Give “Jackhammer” a listen and you’ll agree. The Spinto Band have not only released a near-perfect pop album here ; maybe if they didn’t make it look so damn easy, more people would take them seriously.

– Jim Testa