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Monday, 29 November 2021

The Reflectors - Faster Action

 

After all the noise, it seems time to step back into Power Pop and Los Angeles quartet, The Reflectors don't disappoint. Their second album provides everything that lovers of the genre could want. Faster Action is melodic Guitar Pop of the highest order.

This may not be startlingly original in its content, but it isn't meant to be. A band that can unite, European, UK and US fans not only reveals their talent and appeal, but shows that when it all comes down, there is nothing like a great chorus to make a song sparkle.



There are loads of such choruses here. Combine those with big riffs and a great middle eight and you have the model Power Pop and Faster Action is a real singalong toe tapping joy. The album is a classic example of American late 70s / early 80s Guitar Pop.

A song like the title track is a little Punkish, Carry On is a little Merseybeat and Messin' Around is very UK 1979, but all are riff laden and catchy as catchy can be. Can't Sleep Tonight is pure Glam Rock, yet Not In My Heart hits Buzzcocks territory. 



At times, the album sounds like a history of Power Pop. But that break out riff on Where Have You Been? and Radio Sounds may be the best single in the genre over the last few years. Part Bay City Rollers / part The Records, it is an ace listen.

Indeed the whole album is a joyous listen. The Reflectors know what buttons to press and press them all. The Speedways have competition for who are the best of the new breed and The Reflectors have currently inched ahead. Faster Action is thoroughly enjoyable. 



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Sunhaven - Slow Dance


Slow Dance is the type of Indie / Alt Rock album that Americans used to make and it is very American. That's a sentence that isn't written as a criticism. Quite the opposite, because, sadly, less and less has been heard from this type of thing over the last few years.

 Bordering College Rock and even Pop Punk, vocal wise, this is a Guitar album. The Guitars are everywhere and riff after riff offers up a belting shake your fist affair without ever losing sight of the melody and chorus.



Unlike many Indie debut albums, it is beautifully produced and it is obvious that a lot of thought has gone into the arrangements, yet it feels like a band playing live and this is really what makes it work. New York's Sunhaven have provided a real Rock Out.

Reflections is the best example of this, it is just pure never let up grit. Safe may sound a bit robotic Vocal wise, but elsewhere they show great variety. Laid back they sound IRS or even Pete Wylie, but you suspect that this lot really want to Rock.



Then again, a song like Fox is built around killer riffs and Transcendence is a brooding wonderful offering that shows Sunhaven are all about pace. This isn't an album for the Pop kids, but it really is refreshing to hear an album that gets you going so much. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Quick Fiction - Fingers Crossed

 


Quick Fiction are a five piece from San Francisco and their debut album inhabits a space somewhere between Power Pop and Pop Rock. But for the chirpy chipper vocal, the band could maybe venture into Indie College Rock.

Fingers Crossed has all the riffs and hooks, but what can appear to be everyday Pop Rock is more than enhanced by surprise, almost The Mommyheads like, chord and time signature changes. This is particularly so on the excellent, Superhero.



This use of different paths in individual songs is a real bonus and more than admirable. Temper is another example of surprise riffs on what might be a more straight ahead song. Traction has a twiddle of a metal riff in the verse. Little Blank just gets better and better as it progresses.

Car Talk edges into the back end of Genesis territory and Little Blank reminds me of the recently reviewed It's Karma It's Cool. The Guitar Inventiveness allows the joy to be spread across the album. No Front loaded nonsense here. Fingers Crossed is a cracking listen.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Sunday, 28 November 2021

Children Collide - Time Itself

 


It appears that Australia has woken up again this year, the quality of Guitar led outfits has always been self evident, but the lockdown seemed to affect the country and it was though hibernation had took over everything. 2021 has had less restrictions and talent will out.

A mixture of the new, the upcoming and the returns have made this a fine year. Talking of the returns, this, their fourth album, is Children Collide's first album since 2012 and marks the reunion of Johnny Mackay and Ryan Caesar with a new Bass Player, Chelsea Wheatley. 




 I expected to see reviews that mention Grunge a lot and have, but Children Collide were never Grunge to these ears and on Time Itself they are definitely not. Nirvana comparisons are also completely barking up the wrong tree. Here, Return To Femmes may get a bit close, but nothing else.

The most notable thing is that the band sound like a proper Power Trio, no overdubbing instruments, no varnish. These songs sound as though they were recorded in band takes, even if they were not and a lot of that is down to the killer Bass lines of Wheatley.




The album leans more towards 60s Psych, although updated for the Indie now. Trampoline is a mixture of 1967 Psych Pop on the verse and Indie College Rock on the chorus, an enthralling match. Aurora hints at Space Rock and Turrets is just mindblowing in similar territory towards the close.

Most songs hit a riff that hooks you and that is never more so on Mind Spider with its incredible Psych solo. Language Is A Prison is Post Punk of the highest order with a Portmeirion like haunting riff. Uh-Oh is the most Indie and commercial they get. A welcome return and a great album!




You can buy the album everywhere and listen on all the streaming sites including You Tube here.


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Friday, 26 November 2021

IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 15



The 15th Edition of the IDHAS Ten Songs Mix. 10 songs in just under 25 minutes. All new and sparkling and ready to delight your ears.

The Mixcloud link is below and at the foot of the page is the Mixcloud Player which takes you directly to the music. Here is the playlist of the ten songs this week :

01 Boxteles - Little Towns

02 The Stayawakes - Lovestruck

03 Norman - Obie Thruggs

04 Byron Rimes - The Carmelite Divine

05 It's Karma, It's Cool - Wild Fire Flames

06 Dmitry Wild - Don't Need Anybody

07 David Brookings - Kill Shot

08 The Thieves - Just Don't Get It

09 Peter Hall - Two Twenty Two

10 the black watch - A Day In Pompeii


IDHAS Ten Songs Mix 15



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The Stayawakes - Pop Dreamz

 

I'm not as involved in Power Pop as I used to be, but when you hear something as good as this album, you realise what it was that drove you to the heart of the genre. The Stayawakes are a quartet from Portsmouth, yes Kids they are British and this, their second album, pushes all the right buttons.

Pop Dreamz has all the Power Pop requisites, big Guitar riffs, great middle eights and enormous choruses. There's even a song called Power Pop Massacre to ram the genre message home. There's no ballads amongst these 11 songs, the Guitars are all aimed at maximum pace.



More recently Power Pop has become more and more American based barring the odd exception like The Speedways. It really is refreshing to listen to something home based. Another problem has been front loaded albums, well you could pick any of these songs as embeds. 

The odd song will edge towards Pop Punk or AOR, but largely The Stayawakes know what they like and want to bring you along. The opener Wendi just crashes in, grips you and leaves you wanting more. Lovestruck reminds me of those Glam Rock days in its pure enjoyment.



The album may be heads down, but the band can play, there are so many hooks and great solos such as the closing solo on It's Cool, It's Rad. The riff on Every Word But Please, the Oh Telephone opening and the Pace of the Pop Punk-ish Down For Love are all highlights in stand out songs.

The sound has most in common with the 90s American Power Pop Wave and you can imagine how great this lot will be Live. Pop Dreamz may be the best Power Pop album that you'll hear this year, it has certainly livened me up. Highly Recommended!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


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Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Byron Rimes - Byron Rimes Greatest Hits

 


What do you mean you've never heard of Byron Rimes? Let me explain! Byron Rimes is an anagram of Simon Berry, the man who was and is Beaulieu Porch and it is splendid to have him and indeed the family back.

So you can expect some great Psych Pop, but even I didn't expect something as stunning as this. The genre demands melodic inventiveness, something that nods to the past whilst embracing the future. This is definitely that.



A song like Thorneywood Is Dark is mind blowing, so many layers yet haunting and at times it bursts into bouts of melody. Venus Is Safe is more mainstream, very Orgone Box with a twist, Lennon-esque at times. In those two songs you hear the scope od Berry's imagination.

Then there is Somer Overdone, initially an instrumental that is chillout like which bursts into Psych wonderment part way through. Simeon is very Toytown. There are times when the album can be way out there, but every piece drags you back to the norm.

The fascinating thing about Simon Berry is that in all this magnificence, he can still write songs that are incredibly Poppy. The best example is The Carmelite Devine, an absolute joy of a listen. But the aforementioned Venus Is Safe and Upon Being A Superstar are equally magnificent. 



There is an IDHAS article I wrote about Beaulieu Porch a few years ago when I talked to Simon. The embedded songs are no longer up, but the article is well worth a read and largely still applies. You can read that here. In the meantime, I can't recommend this album any more highly. 

So many bemoan the lack of new Orgone Box material. So until Rick gets new stuff out to the world, this is the closest you will get. Psych Pop can be extraordinarily great when presented like this. The Greatest Hits title may be tongue in cheek, but it isn't far from the truth. 



You can listen to and buy the album here


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