There are those that say the key to winning a track meet is to both start and finish strong, while simply keeping pace in the middle. Well, someone should have told that to Every Avenue and their latest effervescent oeuvre, 'Picture Perfect.'

This record seems to be in a dead sprint to the finish line. Oh, it starts off strong and finishes even stronger, but it doesn't just pace throughout; this record flat out kills, blowing away the competition in the process. With 'Picture Perfect' the boys in Every Avenue have stepped their game up so to speak and have only gotten better in almost every sense. Listen, 'Shh..Just Go With It' was a great record in its own right and 'Picture Perfect' is just its logical predecessor, or maybe superior works better there.

With 'Picture Perfect' these guys have never been better, which is saying something because they have been damn good thus far. This record is a star-studded affair, packed to the hilt with stunning songs that, if given the opportunity, would all impact at radio. There are 11 tracks in total, all of which could be potential singles for the band. Every Avenue does everything right, including the small things like the bass drop leading to the chorus outro of 'Tell Me I'm a Wreck.' It's things like that (that often go unnoticed), along with some of the more noticeable things, like painfully, painfully relatable songwriting, vibrant storytelling, near perfect song structure and magnificent, soaring hooks, driven home by Dave Strauchman's significant and understandable vocals. He is an integral part of the bands brilliant sonic aesthetic, but he doesn't deserve all of the credit for sure. It's not like his band sucks or anything.

It's the contrast of 'Picture Perfect' that makes it so special. The band can follow songs with moving piano touches ('Happy the Hard Way') with upbeat, cheery numbers ('Girl Like That'). The album can also get away with a heavy (well, heavy for them) breakdown in the middle of 'Saying Goodbye.' Its remarkable how this album can also be as heartbreaking ('The Story Left Untold') as it is, then be refreshing and dance floor inducing in the next breath ('Clumsy Little Heart'). It's really a testament to the bands abilities than anything else.

Listening to powerpop nowadays is like wading neck deep through muck, while finding a good band among the ilk is more like finding a needle in the haystack. Let's face it - the entire genre is in the toilet right now. Save yourself the hassle of listening to the rest and just go pick up a copy of 'Picture Perfect' and listen to the best.

Grade: A

Story by Brian Campbell

Starpulse contributing writer