John Lefler (of Dashboard Confessional)

Better By Design

Right to the head of the class for Best Of 2009! Lefler comes from left field — he`s been a hired gun for Dashboard Confessional as their lead guitarist for years but the quality of the work here on “Better By Design” excels way over of what we hear from his paycheck w/ DC. Earmarkings recall Jellyfish, Josh Fix, Fountains Of Wayne and Bryan Scary – and more.

Absolute Power Pop blog nails it, as usual: “Lefler touches all the power pop buttons here. “Dream Your Life Away” opens the disc with a Jellyfish-inspired track that could have come off Spilt Milk, with its British invasion melody, staccato guitar riffs and snare drums, all delivered with a certain joie de vivre that a power pop fan can almost innately pick up. There`s no dropoff next with the title track, with its insistent piano beat and McCartney-esque melody, and the sweet and jangly “Lucy” is 2:16 of pure ear candy. An opening trio like that is hard to follow, but Lefler hangs in there with several more gems. The midtempo rocker “Afraid Anymore” recalls both Fountains of Wayne and Cliff Hillis, “Hard Act to Follow” (hey, didn`t I just use that phrase?) is another `Fish-styled number with a quality guitar solo, and “Helplessly” is a pretty ballad that does a fine job of letting the listening catch his or her breath. The latter portion of the disc is rounded out with the file Sloan-styled “Better Than You”, the bright rocker “Ordinary Guy”, complete with “oh-oh-oh”s and a Matthew Sweet/Gin Blossoms sound, and the dreamy Lennonesque closer “Up My Sleeve”. A stunning debut from Mr. Lefler, and one I can see in a lot of power poppers` top 10 lists come year`s end.”.

“Unlike Dashboard frontman Chris Carrabba, Lefler aims for power pop instead of acoustic ballads. With infectious tracks influenced by the likes of the The Beatles, The Beach Boys or The Zombies it makes for a perfect summer sound. It is a very engaging and charming record through out. The sound is far from `solo`, with a multi-instrumental mix mostly done by Lefler himself. ” – HUGELY Recommended!!

John Lefler will be performing at the Walnut Room on March 7th w/ Grayson Capps

Up My Sleeve – John Lefler

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