The opening song ‘33 Rue De Sévigné’ demonstrates Salim Nourallah’s talents as a songwriter. Written in Paris, after touring France and elsewhere with his new pal Wreckless Eric, it’s endlessly melodic 60s-influenced pop; like rotating a diamond between your fingers, different, beautifully polished facets reveal themselves, from shades of the Beatles to the Kinks, the Zombies and the Move. There’s nothing that quite hits the heights of that track, although ‘Unstoppable’ has classic pop written all over it (comprised of equal parts the Magic Numbers, Tom Petty and the Cars).
The album was recorded in Treefort Studios in Austin, hence the title of his new band, the Treefort Five, made up of members of Buttercup, Apples in Stereo and the Polyphonic Spree, and it’s a more expansive record than Nourallah’s solo works. The hook-filled ‘The Quitter’ has shades of Big Star and the Beatles (again!) while ‘Everybody Knows’ is catchy powerpop. But the ratio of good to so-so might have been improved if the (quite long) record missed out a couple of clunkier songs; the “love is a battlefield” metaphors in ‘Warriors of Love’ are pretty hammy, and referring to “Shakespeare-o” is a crime for while the Stranglers haven’t yet been forgiven.
He was trying for a mixture of late 60s rock’n’roll and late-70s punk (The White Album meets London Calling). Occasionally it drifts into Travelling Wilburys territory (nothing here could offend anyone) but his pop smarts means that Hit Parade has a reasonable hit rate.