A brilliant fusion of the Beatles, Squeeze, Guided by Voices, and some less obvious influences, Austin-based power poppers Cotton Mather are one of those rare power pop groups who transcend their inspirations to create powerful and original music of their own. Formed in Austin in 1991, the original Cotton Mather (named of course after the famous Puritan preacher and author) lineup consisted of singer/guitarist Robert Harrison; his main foil, guitarist Whit Williams; bassist Matt Hovis; and drummer Greg Thibeaux, who doubled on guitar. This lineup recorded a demo, Crafty Flower Arranger, in 1992, which was never officially released but was widely bootlegged in the wake of the group's later success. Some tracks were re-recorded in far superior versions on the band's debut album, 1994's Cotton Is King. The Squeeze influence is particularly strong on this record; Harrison sounds uncannily like Glenn Tilbrook on several songs.