Cheerleader (Pheromone Recordings/Universal)
The original Odds team of singer-guitarists Craig Northey and Steven Drake was a pairing made in pop heaven. On its best songs, like “I Would Be Your Man” and “Nothing Beautiful”, its melodic sensibilities rivalled the Beatles-esque beauty of Crowded House. Mind you, Northey also did pretty well when he was hooked up with Gin Blossom Jesse Valenzuela; their theme song to TV’s Corner Gas, “Not a Lot Goin’ On”, is arguably the catchiest Canadian pop tune of all time.
Northey continues to prove himself a bottomless pit of clever lyrics and sharp hooks on Cheerleader, the first CD by TNO, which sees him in the company of new guitarist Murray Atkinson and the original Odds rhythm section of bassist Doug Elliott and drummer Pat Steward. The quartet’s bouncy power-pop sound is intact, as is the quirky songwriting, whether it’s inspired by Northey’s observations of suicidal incidents on the Lions Gate Bridge (“Jumper”) or the brain-dead antics of local youths (“Getting My Attention”). As a bonus, he’s tossed in “My Happy Place”, the effervescent closing theme to Corner Gas, which should make an appearance when the New Odds play Port Moody’s Golden Spike Days Festival on June 28.