Destination Universe

Destination Universe is the second paroxysm of pop ambition and melodic whip-cracking from Jim Ellison, guitarist and songmeister for the furious Chicago power trio Material Issue. Think of this music as a sort of landlocked ’90s Merseybeat, and trust in Ellison’s expertise in the mechanics that made that original Liverpool stuff so memorable: pocketsful of melodies, bursting guitars, and the unspoken belief that these are the things that make life worth living. Case in point: the lean, rumbling chords of the instant summer classic ”What Girls Want.” The answer? ”A man with lips just like Mick Jagger/Rod Stewart’s hair, and Keith Richards’ stagger.” In other songs, Ellison’s commentary on the opposite sex (”girls” throughout) could be a bit more magnanimous, but his never-miss songwriting and the rhythm section’s spine-rattling exuberance manufacture gem (”Girl From Out of this World,” ”Destination You”) after gem (”Don’t You Think I Know,” ”If Ever You Should Fall”). Upgraded half a notch for sheer joyful consistency. A-

Destination Universe
  • Music