2nd Grade is the project of Pete Gill, a talented, prolific and sort of obsessive musician based in Philly. He’s producing an incredibly catchy brand of guitar-based power pop music that is a lot of fun to listen to and puts a spring in your step if you’ve got it on in your ears while you’re out walking. The new album is Wish You Were Here Tour Revisited, a sprawling 23-song project consisting of some songs remastered, some re-recorded and one outtake from his 2018 Wish You Were Here Tour, and it will be out June 25 on Double Double Whammy Records.
For now, we have the single “Superglue”. Gill described in detail his process of creating this song, and it’s an entertaining sort of narrative: "The process of composing this record was essentially my own personal boot camp for guitar pop songwriting, so naturally the songs are full of nods to the greats. Here we have references to Bob Dylan’s 'All I Really Want to Do', Brian Wilson’s double-dutch melodies of 'Don’t Worry Baby', Stephin Merritt’s multisyllabic rhyming tricks, and the Roy Acuff quote about Hank Williams having a 'ten-cent brain'. I don’t play guitar in this band anymore, so you’re hearing unadulterated Catherine Dwyer in the right ear and uncorrupted Jon Samuels in the left and in the solo; to me they’re the Keith Richards and Mick Taylor of 2nd Grade, respectively."
After you check out this tune, come back and read that - what we have here is a sort of 21st century pop punk itinerant (Hank Williams) incorporating Bob Dylan (and Phil Spector by way of Brian Wilson), and unabashedly calling out one of the greatest guitar rock duos in history, with the high level of specificity connoted by use of the word “respectively”.
(Photo: Abi Reimold)
Having high standards is a good thing, and I can see all of Gill's comparisons except that I might throw in a little bit of Lloyd and Verlaine on the intertwined guitar lines of the last half minute or so. And all that in only about a minute and a half - fun!