I mentioned in my review of Boxer At Rest that The Bye Bye Blackbirds were stretching away from the Power Pop tag assigned to them on earlier albums. With August Lightning Complex, that genre seems even more distant in the mirror.
Only Favorite Stars could potentially labelled Power Pop and it is wonderful, showing that the band have lost none of their ability to go there, should they wish. The Oakland California six piece provide a wonderfully adult album, as you would expect but never take for granted.
Bradley Skaught's song writing is as top notch as ever, but lyrically, the album is much darker, maybe brought on by the pandemic lockdown effects in the two years since Boxer At Rest. The album has a lot in common with 70s Pop Rock, but there are hints of Country Rock and West Coast Rock.
However the production is big and crystal clear, you can hear and pick out every instrument in a way that most albums don't enable. Choruses are as memorable ever. The real plus is that six highly talented musicians blend beautifully, you sense that there isn't an ego in sight.
Much will be made of We Got Lost, a co-write with Matt Piucci who guests on the song, as does Doug Gillard. Despite the obvious Paisley connection, it is Kelly Atkins's vocal that stands out. Even more exciting is the one minute psych out that follows the track as a reprise. It blew my socks off.
Don't Wait is almost Gospel Country Rock and Something From The Old World is a classic slice of 70s Stadium Rock. Mechanic is chipper, at times Americana but with a wonderful twang. Want Show As Young starts all Glen Campbell but the riff, chorus and brass make this a much larger beat.
Then there is Marching, a nine minute epic. A vocal that is a little Tom Petty and a song that allows instruments to come in from everywhere with a Procol Harum like organ part way through. It is a magnificent brooding affair rounding of a splendid album. Big in every sense of the word, The Bye Bye Blackbirds have released a masterpiece.
You can listen to an buy the album here.