Music » Homespun

Homespun: Popular Mechanics

Time and a Half
(Pancake Productions)



In Danish, the phrase "husker du" translates as "do you remember?" In the annals of American indie rock, the name Hüsker Dü recalls the smart, streamlined rock & roll made by the Minnesota band throughout the '80s. The St. Louis trio Popular Mechanics certainly remembers that famed three-piece, so much so that you could mistake singer/guitarist Dave Todd's vocals for Bob Mould's sweet but occasionally snide delivery. On its debut album, Popular Mechanics displays a knack for making catchy, familiar rock music — these three musicians understand the mechanics of popular music, if you'll pardon the wordplay. Opening track "I Don't Mind" bears repeated listens; it's one of several love-gone-wrong songs that Todd approaches with a mix of venom and malaise. The pose works well for the band.

As the band's name and the album's title suggest, a slight blue-collar streak — not in the Springsteen/Mellencamp tradition, but in the straight-ahead, no-frills approach to songcraft — runs through Time and a Half. This method works most of the time, but over the course of ten tracks, the songs' sameness causes one to blend in with another a little too often. But good things happen when the band tinkers with the formula. "Cold Dirty Ground" begins with a jazzy shuffle on drums and light acoustic guitar strums, giving an almost tropical feel to the verses, while the chorus kicks in with crunchier electric guitars. Popular Mechanics may not stray too far from home base, but the band is right at home playing melodic bubblegum rock & roll.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail for more information.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.