Label: Matador Release date: 17/08/09 Website: Jay Reatard's Official Site Buy: Amazon Jay Reatard has got it down pretty well: no matter how dark or self-loathing his lyrics get, his tunes are nearly always short, fun, simple and catchy. His high, wailing voice, his bouncy and distorted guitar tones and his perfect blend of gritty garage punk and chirpy pop has ensured that he is loved by the punks who’ve been in to him since The Reatards, and the new crop of indie kids who found him on their Matador records samplers. All of these factors are well and truly in place on his second proper solo record as Jay Reatard, not counting endless singles, EPs and compilations, and things are probably poppier than ever – there’s a new wave feel that borders on ‘surfy’ at times, if such an adjective exists, making for a kind of depressed-but-rambunctious Beach Boys vibe. Highlights such as opener ‘It Ain’t Gonna Save Me’ and ‘Hang Them All’ show the two extremes that tend to meet in the middle on the album, with the former being an all-out pop onslaught, and the latter being deeply haunting, with echoey ‘oohs’ and a rippling acoustic outro. To quote a certain lobster, it’s Toe-Tappingly Tragic. This is still a punk record – Jay Reatard is, after all, a punk, so at the very least it is punk by association. The punk rock rage and the fury is definitely there, though, just masked behind sugary melodies. The perfect blend between Pop and Punk, but Pop Punk it ain’t: too mature both in style and themes to be placed alongside blink-182 and the like, Jay Reatard creates something truly special with Watch Me Fall. He has not fallen. He has made one of the best records of the year. Rating: 9/10