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FROM GOOD HOMES (Buy CDs by this artist)
Hick-Pop Comin' at Ya! (GRRRRrrrrr Music) 1993
Open Up the Sky (RCA) 1995

It might seem unusual for a New Jersey band to make an album called Hick-Pop Comin' at Ya! with no irony intended, but From Good Homes' debut is just as advertised: rural power-pop (imagine Material Issue as singing cowboys). Since Hick-Pop occasionally borders on slickness, it's up to the songs and vocals to keep the sound honest. Occasionally, the saxophones blow holes in the quintet's country quilt, but "Comin on Home" clocks in and out with a dependable style. The major-label follow-up is basically more of the same, but the songs are better. The band occasionally relies on stock lyrics (check "Radio On"), but Open Up the Sky generally gives their unique sound the perfect vehicle — and it's closer to a sports car than a tractor.

[Jordan Oakes]