They may be called the Leftovers, but this foursome out of Portland, Me., are a lot more exciting than the three-day-old meatloaf in your fridge. The songs they've cooked up for their new disc, Eager to Please, are some of the hottest to drop so far this year - if you dig hard-driving power-pop. If peer pressure means anything to you, Ben Weasel (Screeching Weasel) is a fan, while Brett Anderson (the Donnas) and Coz Canler (the Romantics) are so enamored of the band that they provided vocals to the project.
Eager's success stems from its restraint as well as its verve. The Leftovers don't overthink their lyrics, focusing instead on crafting melodies that stick in your brain like a freshly chewed hunk of Bubbalicious. (Try listening to "Get Out of My Head": It won't do what it demands.) Plus, they've paid close attention to forebears who've mastered this formula. There's a huge nod to Elvis Costello on "Telephone Operator," a Ramones vibe on "You Know What You Do" and more than a few Cheap Trick tricks on "Can't Stop," but none of it sounds derivative. If anything, it borders on theatrical. The final track, "Party Til We Die," featuring Anderson and Jon Rubin, could be the anthem for some kind of pop-punk musical out to kick Cats' ass.