When it appeared 11 years ago, Marshall Crenshaw’s marvelously engaging debut album seemed transported from another era; it was infused with such buoyant innocence and uncluttered pop-rock craftsmanship that it almost sounded like the spirit of Buddy Holly had been reborn in this young Detroit native.
Crenshaw--who even looked a little like Holly--wrote (and still writes) straightforward songs about girls and young love that hardly could have been described as trendy back when Prince was partying like it was 1999 and the Clash was rocking the casbah. Not surprisingly, “Marshall Crenshaw” didn’t make much of an impact on the larger pop consciousness. Yet today, tracks such as the melodic “Mary Anne” and the jangly “Someday, Someway” sound as fresh and inviting as ever.
There’s an appealing, natural, no-frills quality to these dozen tracks with their unadulterated guitar-bass-drum format and live-in-the-studio feel, an approach that suits Crenshaw’s smooth, unpretentious vocal style and the band’s raw (though hardly raucous) instrumental bent.
No one track stands head-and-shoulders above the rest; the album is marked by an impressive consistency. From the opening “There She Goes Again” to the closing “Brand New Lover,” Crenshaw captures the pure, unspoiled pleasure of some of rock’s earliest sides.