The level of talent coming out of Philthy Philly is astonishing. What could possibly be in the water? Listening to my beloved independent radio station shaking the airwaves out of University City, WXPN (88.5/91.9 wpn.org), DJ great Dan Reed spun a tune that made me question if there was potentially a Big Star track I’d missed. The catchy chorus and power popping riffs hit me with that same sugary bell bottom rush. He announced that it was a track from Sass, yet another local Philly band I’d never heard of. I welcome the return of some good ol’ fashioned bittersweet power pop rock with crushing/chiming guitars. And on this end, Sass, who has been described online as “The Sexiest band in Philadelphia Metro Area”, delivers.
Apparently Sass consists of an unwieldy eight members, but front man Dave Cope tells me that this song which made me see the light, “If Your Mama Only knew”, was etched out by only three of the Sass Clan. “Actually, only three people played on this tune, Fred Berman (drums), Ethan Rider (bass) and myself (vocals, guitars, organ). On this track I used a Fender Strat for the electric and a Martin D-28 for the acoustic part.”
The lyrics center around a teenage girl sneaking out at night. A rock cliche’ if there ever was one? Sure, but it’s delivered here with such crisp conviction that it’s nearly impossible to take a jaded stance. Spirits of The Raspberries and Alex Chilton haunt every corner of this track, and the 36-second guitar solo is one of those “This is all you need”, not-even-one-excess-note moments. It’s a stunner of a track that looms tall over the thousands of “September Gurls” chasers currently toiling away on Bandcamp and the lower Spotify rungs.
Sass needs to be firmly on your radar if you long for that not-so-innocent but oh-so-pure ’70s hooky guitar rush that has still rightly refuses to die.
Check out the track on bandcamp.