Boomkat Product Review:
A largely overlooked classic of the power-pop genre, Are You Serious? is re-released over thirty years on from its initial recording. These soft-rocking concoctions must have been fairly at odds with the era, having been worked on during the heyday of punk, but these radio-friendly nuggets have aged well, revealing an accomplished songwriter and a great period production sound. "Native Memphian Van Duren began his recording career in 1975, one of the pioneers in a musical genre later dubbed Power Pop. He and then-partner Jody Stephens (drummer with the band Big Star) wrote some songs together and recorded them at Ardent Studios in Memphis (some with legendary Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham). Soon after, Van and Jody hooked up with another Big Star alumnus, singer/songwriter/guitarist Christopher Bell, and formed the Baker Street Regulars, playing around Memphis for the first half of 1976. In the summer of 1977, Van moved to Greenwich Village and recorded his first solo album for Big Sound Records, Are You Serious?. The album received excellent reviews and was added to over 110 FM radio playlists around the country. A followup, Idiot Optimism, was recorded in 1978 and '79, but was not released until 25 years later ."