The first words on Salim Nourallah's most recent release, Hit Parade, are "this is the place to fall in love". And if you go weak in the knees for literate, Beatle-esque power pop, then Hit Parade is definitely the place to fall in love. Nourallah has been churning out breezy, melodic songs of love and loss for over a decade. There's a mountain of back catalog to explore, but it's hard to fathom that a songwriter this sharp, knocking out 3 and half minute nuggets by the dozens, has flown under my radar for so long. I live for this shit.
Having produced two Old 97's albums as well as Rhett Miller's 2009 self titled solo disc, Nourallah shares Miller's gift for turning simple, direct songs into hook happy, sing along psalms. "Unstoppable" chronicles the untapped, unlimited potential that lives in every five year old, and wouldn't sound out of place on an album by fellow Texan and pop savant Ben Kweller. But the main influence in evidence is the wistful side of Ray Davies, especially as Nourallah looks back on friendships squandered, lost and missed on the latter half of the album, where "Everybody Knows" and "The Quitter" quietly seethe and "Goddam Life"(featuring this very Kinks-ian "And when fall gives way to winter / You're standing in your favorite coat / The sleeve's ripped it doesn't fit you anymore / Another thing you loved outgrown"... ouch) and "Friends for Life" are laced with regret.
If you are heading out to Union Transfer tonight, make sure you get there early to check out Salim Nourallah and The Travoltas as they set the table for the Old 97's and their Too Far to Care 15th Anniversary tour. And snag a copy of Hit Parade - it'll be right up your alley.
Salim Nourallah - "Goddam Life" (from Hit Parade)
Old 97's - "Barrier Reef" (from Too Far to Care)