TOMS, THE: Self-titled: CS

More correctly called “The Tom,” this re-release of the 1979 debut album by one-man power pop recording project—cum apparently notable and Grammy®-nominated studio owner Tommy Marolda—earns my respect right off the bat, simply because, well… I never fucking heard of the thing before. I’m pretty sure I would have dug this one just fine had I stumbled across it at age fourteen. I wasn’t necessarily looking for snappy power pop records at the time, I was looking for punk records with buzzsaw guitars and swearing to which I could jump around after school—but I’d always take a chance on a power pop record as that era’s Plan B. Though none of the tape’s nineteen songs (twelve album tracks and seven bonus tracks) struck me as meriting a compulsive replay, there are really no bad songs on here, either, and at least The Tom rocked harder than The Shoes. The Tom’s influences seem to be along traditional genre lines—either childhood heroes (Beatles, Byrds, Hollies) or fellow 1970s ‘60s preservationists (Raspberries, Big Star). Then again, sometimes The Tom just sounds happy to exist in the same world as Wings, the Bee Gees, and the Electric Light Orchestra. If the idea here was to make me feel uncool for not owning the original vinyl, I confirm mild success. Best power pop album with a red-and-white-checkered cover since the Wigs record! BEST SONG: “The Flame.” It would have been cooler if Cheap Trick would have just covered The Toms’ song called “The Flame” for their sole #1 hit instead of that stupid ballad they actually used. BEST SONG TITLE: “Liverpool Girls.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The “TOMS” logo is typeset in Franklin Gothic Heavy, same font as the “RAMONES” wordmark. –Rev. Nørb (Burger/Frodis, burgerrecords.org, frodisrecords.com)