One of the best bands in that second wave of Power Pop from 1977 onward were Pezband. Stop! Wait A Minute remains on of the great Power Pop songs, up there with the likes of Starry Eyes. My other half is as far removed from a Power Pop fan as you could imagine and yet that song is on her Spotify playlist.
Those three albums between 1977 and 1979 stand up with any of the New Wave breed and the band were fantastic live. The thing that shone most amongst the killer choruses was that Betinis voice, a thing of wonder.
The great news is that that voice is still in fine fettle and although it’s been a long six year wait since 2010’s excellent All That Glitters, it’s well worth the wait because Music Sounds is a cracker of an album.
Pontiac is the most Pezband like, the album though is poptastic. McCartney-esque on Sound The Alarm, which has some great harmonies and a killer riff, wonderfully moody on Listen To Me, Funky on This Girl.
Palm Of Her Hand has a Merseybeat shuffle, Say The Word is a gem with it’s Pilot like riff and the closer, There Is Love is almost Moroder like. She Wants You showcases his voice beautifully on a 60’s singalong, Corinna could appear on any of those three Pezband albums and not be out of place.
The album has all those trademark licks and choruses, but most of all it has THAT voice.
Members of Pezband help out on five of the songs and the album is produced by John Pavletic, who produced Cover To Cover.
—Don Valentine, UK Music Blog I Don’t Hear a Single
It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since Mimi Betinis released “All That Glitters,” a brilliant record that hit all the right pop sweet spots.
This year, his profile is proving to be considerably higher. Frodis Records rescued Betinis’s Pezband e.p. “Women & Politics” from mothballs, releasing it on beautiful gold vinyl. This month saw the release of not one new record but two — “Music Sounds” and “Basement Tapes, Volume 1.”
“Corinna,” with gritty guitars and a nifty chorus harmony, pulls you in before you know what’s hit you. The waltzy “Palm of Her Hand” showcases Betinis’s greatest gift, the ability to recall Lennon AND McCartney in a single vocal. How does he do it?
Painted with subtle touches of backward guitars and under-produced pianos, “Music Sounds” is unpretentiously brilliant in the best ways possible. These songs will occupy space in your head long after the last note is heard. Highly recommended.
—Dan Pavelich, Kenosha News
Mimi Betinis is well known to power pop fans as the lead vocalist and guitarist for Pezband, one of the very first acts to embrace the genre. In addition to performing with the group and releasing the 2014 rarities collection Dangerous People – Pezband Nineteen Hundred Seventy Nine, Betinis is also a solo artist. The recently released Music Sounds continues the approach of his 2010 All That Glitters in exploring different types of music while keeping the emphasis on strong melodies.
“This Girl” has a playful Latin feel, along with fluid piano playing and funky guitars. The techno beat of “There Is Love” is irresistible from the start, while the strings-embellished “Palm Of Her Hand” sounds like 1960s make out music. Betinis evokes Paul McCartney’s “Another Day” with the light, melodic fare of “Listen To Me Boy” and a reworked “Say The Word” from All That Glitters.
There’s also the party rock of “Most Of The Time,” a tribute to a (usually) faithful lover, while the guitar-fueled “Pontiac” takes listeners on a nationwide quest to find the answers to life’s assorted mysteries. “Sound The Alarm” taps into vintage Pezband as Betinis vows to save the world from heartache, starting with a particular woman he has in mind.
—Terry Flamm, Broken-Hearted Toy
An incredible, vivid, quite alive offering of melodic treasures populates this glorious album, without question one of this year’s best releases. Every song is a wonderfully realized pop confection, particularly three that hit the hooky bullseye: “Say the Word,” “She Wants You,” which surreptitiously recalls the famed intro to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in the intro, and “Summer Love,” a warm love letter and look back to a seasonal romance (that, perhaps unknowingly, taps the sound of 10cc member Eric Stewart’s guitar playing in the solo). A pure pop masterpiece that will spin in your orbit for years to come.
—Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio
Pezband’s Betinis scores with two sterling releases in 2016 that are really two sides of a rather entertaining coin, so they both rate a spot in this Stars of 2016 feature. Music Sounds is a vivid, quite alive offering of melodic treasures. Its songs are wonderfully realized pop confections that hit the hooky bullseye, like “She Wants You,” which surreptitiously recalls the famed intro to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in the intro, and “Summer Love,” a warm love letter and look back to a seasonal romance (that, perhaps unknowingly, taps the sound of 10cc member Eric Stewart’s guitar playing in the solo).
Basement Tapes Vol. 1 collects tracks that Mimi has been working on over the years, like “Ray of Light,” a melodic sweetness that sounds like an Andy Partridge outtake off of XTC’s Nonsuch album, and simply lovely covers (Paul McCartney’s song for Mary Hopkin, “Goodbye,” and the Hudson Brothers’ “So You Are a Star” are glorious). Saying that some heritage artists are only getting better as time passes by can sound like rather an empty assertion, but my, how that phrase does indeed fit snug as a bug, listening to Music Sounds and Basement Tapes Vol. 1.
—Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of 2016, Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio
The former frontman for seminal ‘70s power popsters Pezband is back with some swell new music, and the good news is that his vocals sound pretty much the same as they did all those years ago – which is to say he still sounds great. Backed by some former Pezband mates as well as ex-Off Broadway drummer Ken Harck on some of the tunes, there are highlights sprinkled throughout: “Corinna” and “Sound the Alarm” come off like long-lost Pezband cuts, “She Wants You” is a melodic nugget that evokes the sound and spirit of the early Beatles, and “Palm of Her Hand” is a sweetly-sung ballad that would have slotted in perfectly on the American Graffiti soundtrack. Proof that old(er) popsters can age gracefully. (A companion piece to Music Sounds is Basement Tapes Vol. 1, a mainly acoustic offering that finds Betinis plundering the vaults and coming up with treats such as faithful covers of the Hudson Brothers’ “So You Are a Star” and Paul McCartney’s “Goodbye,” along with a simply gorgeous reading of Pezband’s “Didn’t We” titled “Didn’t We 1979,” which features Off Broadway vocalist Cliff Johnson and manages to outshine the stellar original version.)
—2016 Wrapup, John Borack, Goldmine
Twirlie Awards – Best Songs of 2016 (Pontiac) – TwirlRadio.com