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“Being classified as “power pop” is often a dangerous, slippery slope. On one hand, you get instant adoration from a group of music fans that are as fanatic and devoted to the genre as most Europeans are to watching soccer (er, uh, football). On the other, the often over-earnestness of some power pop groups seem to turn off the hipsters; indeed, the “cool kids” aren’t often accepting of the “everyman.” But, when you have somebody as purely talented as Livonia-based power-pop legend Chris Richards — backed on his new disc by the Subtractions — giving a shit about what’s cool and hip becomes secondary when you focus on the guts and glory of the songs. On Sad Sounds of The Summer, thick guitars tangle with a locked-in rhythm section, and Richards’ familiar tenor rolls nicely over top, as each song is blanketed in a hefty amount of jangle and fuzz. Oh, and let it be known: the man knows his way around a quality bridge.”
“Chris Richards & The Subtractions-Sad Sounds of the Summer. Talk about patience paying off. The power pop community has been waiting a good five years for the followup to Chris Richards' Mystery Spot, a power pop disc so well-received that it even managed a 7.3 from Pitchfork. Well, our long national nightmare is over. The Detroit popper has added a backing band and released Sad Sounds of the Summer, and it's just what the doctor ordered - even if the sounds aren't sad and it's springtime. Some tracks jangle more than others (opener "I Can't Quit Her"), some rock harder ("I, Miss July"), and some do both ("Oh Canada"), but all are quite fine. Meanwhile, Richards' backing band really helps him focus his sound here, a clear case of addition by Subtractions. A must-have for classic power poppers.”
“Sad Sounds of the Summer, his first disc with his new backing combo the Subtractions, confirms his status as one of the Midwest's unsung heroes of contemporary power pop. Richards has been in the game long enough to have a firm command of the classic hard pop lexicon, and he's learned to write a memorable hook and a ear-catching melody with the same ease and aplomb as Tommy Keene, the Posies, or Sloan. But Richards' tunes have a freshness, energy, and punch that shows he's a kindred spirit, not a follower, and the big guitars, spot-on vocal harmonies, and walloping backbeat of songs like "I Can't Quit Her," "I, Miss July," and "I Do Declare" are pure pop bliss of the sort that was supposed to have died out in the 1990s. Richards' guitar work is straightforward but powerful throughout this album, lending the melodies plenty of body and force. This disc is 37 minutes of guitar-powered joy that will satisfy your craving for hard-rocking pop all year round. 4 stars”
“Detroit's Chris Richards and the Subtractions have released their latest collection of hook-laden, power pop. Richards has been doing this for a long time (since 1989) and the experience shows. The crunchy guitar riffs lead the opening "I Can't Quit Her" and more sweet melodies and luscious harmonies follow. There is enough rich reverb on the Raspberries-like "Consolation" and heavy rock guitar on "I, Miss July" that it demands repeat listens. Fans of the Posies, Lolas and Tommy Keene will be in pop heaven with this one. Overall, this album is exemplary of the genre, and thus deserves a top ten nod for 2009.”
“Any fan of a catchy, well-written song that just sounds great when you’re driving, dancing, fighting or fucking will love this new album by Chris Richards. Not only is he good at what he does, but he understands it. Just because there isn’t a missed trick on this album, doesn’t mean that Richards just throws them all in there willy-nilly. Richards knows when to throw in a middle-eight so good it’ll make you miss Badfinger and when to throw in some handclaps and ohh-ohh-ohh’s so that the whole thing makes sense. This is not a pastiche of a long-forgotten style. This is some of the best power pop you’re going to hear this year and all by an artists who excells at it. Trust me: buy this album and you’ll be singing these songs to the beach, to the picnic, to the bar, to your friend’s house etc. and before you know it, you’ll have a new favorite CD. I can say I’ve seen it happen….because it happened with me. ”
“I *knew* Chris Richards had it in time to deliver a true treasure. With "Sad Sounds Of The Summer" he has. With his band The Subtractions, Richards has found fellow musos to articulate his jangle pop vision. Just jump in head first below and start listening to what`s going on here. If you are a fan of The Windbreakers, Bobby Sutliff and Tim Lee, this kind of music is going to win you over big. Echoes of many Swedish power pop bands we love so much are here(check out Song #2 below), alongside pumping Velvet Crush-like guitar lines(see Track #1 below), Tommy Keene inspired melodies(Song #4) and The Lolas(Track #5 below) -- and so much more. The guitars ring proudly, the vocals soar heavenward and the hooks rip the line off the fishing rod - it`s pure pop delight. I mentioned that his previous albums were mansions of happy, sunny and bright pop melodies, chippy guitar sounds and snappy vocals and the same applies here, but in spades.”
“One of the joys of this pop writing gig is running across discs that come flying out of left field and lodge themselves in the ‘ol CD player for quite a while. One such recent goodie is Sad Sounds of the Summer by Chris Richards and the Subtractions (Gangplank Records). The Michigan-based Richards has been on the fringes of the pop scene for quite a while, with bands such as The Pantookas, Hippodrome and the Phenomenal Cats, but he comes a cropper on this record, with track after track (there’s 10 of ‘em) of propulsive power pop with sticky melodies. Richards’ voice recalls a smoother version of the Undertones’ Feargal Sharkey, and is bolstered by honey-sweet backing vox. Picks to click: “Consolation,” “Take it From Me” and “I Do Declare” (with drummer Larry Grodsky doing his best Keith Moon).”