Google Tag

Tuesday 27 February 2024

The Real Numbers - Thank You

 

It has been nine years since The Real Numbers' third album, but that wasn't the plan. The San Franciscan quartet had began recording the follow up until the recordings were lost due to a hard drive failure. That and life events meant that 8 years later, a fourth album finally appears.

You can read the full story on the band's website here. It is a wonderfully arranged Pop Rock affair that treads into Power Pop, 60s Sunshine Pop, the 90s revival of Guitar Pop and also the 70s golden era of Pop Rock. Indeed, the cover of Andrew Gold's Thank You For Being A Friend is apt as it fits beautifully with what the band are about.



It is the melody and the versatility that makes this album special. The songs instrumentally are very jaunty, upbeat, jolly if you like. There is a real positivity lyrically and that suits the arrangements and performances. There are also special guests which will delight followers and they aren't here for the ride.

The best song is probably Lydia Pinkham, an absolute rollercoaster of a song that has Roger Joseph Manning Jr on keyboards and his Pump Organ part is simply awesome. The Jellyfish connection doesn't end there with Tim Smith playing Bass on Lucy's In Love.



There are some splendid Brass arrangements too, particularly on the excellent singalong Sunshine Pop of You, Me And The Sunshine and the more New Wave Revue style on Lucy's In Love. Sorry For The Mess is more 90s, very Barenaked Ladies. 

News Of The Day is very 70s UK Pop Rock of the highest order and Hello World gets all West Coast Rock. All this jauntiness is ended with the magnificent brooding closer, Souvenirs with the jaw dropping string arrangement. All in All, a really special album. I do hope it isn't the band's last.



The album is currently available as a Name Your Price here.  The album will be getting a physical release on Kool Kat next month and I will update details of that here when I have them.


.................................

Monday 26 February 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist



23 new songs this week. A sort of soundtrack for the next seven days that can be listened to in one go or bit by bit. There is no song preference in track order, just what we think flows.  I do hope that you can listen to all the songs across this week. The last listed is as great as the first and you have all week to listen. 

This weekly playlist is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. All embeds open in new windows to aid scrolling. Links to the artists will also appear on I Don't Hear A Single Social Media sites over the next 24 hours. This will help you to discover more about the artists who appear here. 
Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists.


The Blackburns - Hooks




No One Sphere - Fingers To Lips




Mark & The Clouds - Digging Graves For You And Me




Faulty Cognitions - Sad Sack




The NewBerrys - Mean To Me




Chaft - Secrets




Save Ya - Looked Like You




Kareem Rahma - Content Machine (feat. Tiny Gun)




Hot Joy - Fingers On My Side




Magic Machine - Castle In The Sky




Big Orange - Easier





Jaime Orr - For You




The Others CA - Gayla Hitzel And The Salems




Red Barnett - Out Of Season




Dark Dazey - Enemy




The Randys - Larkin'




OK PANDA - Home




Baby Said - You Killed It





The Terrys - Tokyo




Born Lost - Another Day In Hell




The Downcast - Save Yourself




Spiders From Uranus - It Don't Love You




Strange Cities - Holoscene





.............................

Friday 23 February 2024

Mark & The Clouds - Machines Can't Hear You

 

A Marco Magnani album is always something to look forward to and the fourth Mark & The Clouds album doesn't disappoint. The man will always be a master at Psych Pop, but just as on the previous album, Waves (IDHAS Review here), he is not afraid in venturing further afield.

There is even more roads taken here, indeed the magnificent Graves For You And Me is pure Jangle Pop. Swearing At The Moon is another surprise. mid 60s UK Beat that isn't a million miles away from Merseybeat and the genre is nailed.



Heart At The Speed Of Sound is great Cotton Mather like Psych Pop, but like that band, Magnani gets pretty close to Power Pop. There is enough here to suggest that a new career in Pop Rock might be in order, but the album is no way about that.

Two Minds In My Head could be Lindisfarne, The World Is Falling is Getting It Together In The Country Classic Rock and In The Blink Of An Eye is akin to Prog Folk with a wonderful acoustic guitar slant. Underground is wonderful Folk with a mesmerising melancholic Baroque arrangement.



Special mention has to go to three other songs, The splendid Swinging Sixties Brass arrangement and weeping Guitar on Soul Of Nature. The more straight ahead altogether now arrangement on The World Id Falling which shows how refreshing Classic Rock can be, it's not all about old men thinking the are on the us West Coast. Finally there is the epic 11 minutes of The Age Of Clowns which is an absolute Prog masterpiece. 

Magnani suits the Trio format and there are lots of guests to embellish the material further. The Guitar strength is a given, but more applause should be given to the vocals, a weakness too often in this type of material. I can also not think of a better match than Mark & The Clouds and Ian Button's top notch Gare Du Nord label.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


.............................

Thursday 22 February 2024

Clone - Knock Out Drops Vol. II



It has been one hell of a year for Canada. Everything that has been great has often come from that country and here is another. Clone are a five piece from Vancouver, but this album sounds so Brit, 1974 Brit for the most part.

Imagine you are me and you are ready to graduate from singles to albums and want your first pocket money purchase to be something you will remember. You would have been delighted if it would have been this. Knock Out Drops Vol. II is great Glam Rock, wonderful showy.




When it was me, I was fortunate that I got Sparks's Propaganda. Clone have fashioned up seven, good time, all the time gems. When many try this it gets either too pastiche or a mix of the shouty and the show off. This lot can obviously play, but they don't have to prove it.

Also with a female front woman, you might expect it to be Suzi Quatro like shoutiness. There's not a bit of that here. Juniper Watters are wonderfully understated, melodic and all the better for it. This gives the songs additional character.




Lyrically, subjects are approached in a way that Shirley Manson does, but there is no noise or angst. These are just great songs, largely Pop Rock, but there are also some great breakout guitar solos and a rhythm section performance to die for. 

When the album leaves the chosen path, it is equally great. Set The Night On Fire is splendid bigger Rock and Hold Him Down wouldn't be out of place in 90s College Rock or UK Brit Pop. Overall, wonderfully presented and played and a top notch album!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


...................

Silent Forum - Domestic Majestic (Heads Up)

 

A quick heads up about an album that I've been waiting to tell you about for ages. A full review will come after tomorrow's release. One of the best things that I've heard in a long time. It must be something in the South Wales water. I still remember Bandicoot getting our album of the year.

This Cardiff quartet have it all, an ability to sound like the crowd that came up with Franz Ferdinand's angular Rock, but also an inventiveness akin to the 80s Indie Gravitas Pop that we love. They can sound like a UK New Wave 1979 band, but equally border Modern Prog.



The album is an absolutely wonderful. You can listen to four tracks now and pre-order here. Alternatively you can hear the whole thing tomorrow. This post will be removed when the actual review goes up after release.



...................................

Gentlemen Rogues - Surface Noise


I love Austin Texas's Gentleman Rogues and Surface Noise pushes all the right buttons and more.  They seem to have been lumped into Power Pop when they are a little noisier than that. They could be compared to new breed from the genre over the past couple of years, but they are much more.

The band are more Indie Rock, melodic Indie Rock though and they cross genres. Although they are nothing as such, they remind me of the Pop Punk brigade that grew up and now offer up a sound that is more encompassing and appeals to a wider audience.



Having said that there are also hints of The Replacements and Superdrag and they certainly offer up an intoxicating brand of Rhythm, Riffs and big choruses. They also enter Slacker Rock at times and the vibe is very 90s College Rock.

For instance the riff on Days In The Dayroom is hypnotic, Bon Mould like, but Troubled Troubadour is almost Green Day. Francy comes in with a Wall Of Sound, all attitude, urgency and pace, whilst the opener, Do The Resurrection! rips in with a sort of Punk Power Pop effectiveness and yet there is also a Psych Pop riff that interrupts proceedings.



Half Empty, Half Fool is great turn of the 70s UK New Wave and Involuntary Solitary is the closest they get to Power Pop, a wonderful anthemic singalong chorus delight. Don't expect any Ballads, although '60s Damage is a great slowed down restrained closer.

The majority of followers here are Riff lovers and Surface Noise is chock with them, wall to wall in fact. Those riffs are the thing that absolutely grip you,. No two are the same and that is what makes this album so special and it is very special.



You can listen to and buy the album here.


.......................

Wednesday 21 February 2024

The Freeloaders - Cheap & Used

 


At times, I get so involved in Guitar Pop that I forget how much I enjoy stepping out of it, be that listening to my collection which is still very different to what I post hear, although it has got far more about the new than it used to. You do get labelled and fight as you may, the label sticks.

Pittsburgh quartet The Freeloaders have fashioned up a fine album that flirts between the 70s and 90s, thankfully missing the 80s when this type of material got drenched in synths, instead of relying on the intermittent organ.



They are particularly great when the Classic Rock takes hold, playing wonderfully arranged Southern Rock that is a reminder of The Band, but much rockier. When the Organ kicks in, it sounds more than a little like Mott The Hoople's Island Years. 

Yet they can also be as loose as The Black Crowes and if there is a current band that they are close to, it is The Successful Failures, a little more laid back than them perhaps and as you might expect they can edge into Country Rock splendidly.



The Guitar work is wonderful, at times it weeps at you. Follow even heads into 70s West Coast Rock. They can also Rock and offer up a raucous cover of Cracker's Don't Fuck Me Up (With Peace And Love) which gets very Garage Punk.

Get Off The Train reveals a wonderful Stones feel and Sick And Tired is a great example at how great they are when they are straight ahead. You can imagine The Freeloaders being a great Live act, hitting a vibe and holding the audience in the palm of their hands. Top Notch!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


.........................

Cast - Love Is The Call

 


People would have you believe that Brit Pop was all about three bands. It is particularly irritating for me that everything is linked to the Magpie Rock of Oasis, a band that released one and a half great albums followed by mediocrity. A band that too many think invented music.

At the time, it was more about the great Guitar Pop from the likes of Cast and Dodgy. I was particularly enchanted by Cast with my connection to Liverpool and the likes of The La's. The band's up and at 'em Scally Scouse Pop offered up and at 'em balls of catchiness with killer choruses.

I've been waiting for this promised comeback for ages and it doesn't disappoint. This is a much bigger production than what has gone before and it suits them. It underlines John Power's songwriting gift, but also moves from the slightly basic arrangements to fully fledged big Pop Rock and the choruses are better than ever. 




The genre has no right to sound as great as this, particularly comeback albums. Love Is The Call, a title that you'd expect from Cast. is a crackerjack of an album. John Power's voice has matured, it is not quite as squeaky as it was and that works even more with the material.

Power had developed a solo career, very different to the band and the opener, Bluebird, is a short nod to that direction, but from there on in, the album just explodes. First Smile Ever retains everything that the band was about and is the closest to the heady Britpop days on the verse, but the chorus breakout and is absolutely killer.




But that verse is the only real inkling of what has gone before. Elsewhere, you have splendid Psych Pop with Love Is The Call and the magnificent The Rain That Falls. Faraway is great 80s Melodic Rock with another massive chorus and Look Around is great UK Beat.

Time Is Like A River has a big 70s Classic Rock sound, something you'd expect more from Ian McNabb and Starry Eyes stomps like the Glam Rock of my youth.  Proceedings end with a big anthem in Tomorrow Call My Name. A wonderful way to end a wonderful album.





You can listen to and buy the album here. It is also available everywhere, just as it should be.


....................

Sorry Monks - Girlfriend EP


Another fine release from Darrin's excellent Subjangle label. Sorry Monks are from Salisbury and display all the traits that you would expect from a Subjangle release. Jangle Pop and Indie Guitar Pop are all on display, but this EP goes even further.

There is a real UK New Wave feel to the material at times, particularly on Close But No Cigar which also has big hints of Glam Rock and Don't Know How It Feels is wonderful Power Pop. Stop, Look And Listen is a mix of 80s Dreamy Pop, but even more reminiscent of UK Beat Pop from 60s. 



What Make You It goes even more 60s with a sort of jaunty don't be sad Pop, offering advice on relationship difficulties and adds a wonderful arrangement to a killer guitar solo. Bird Of Paradise is great West Coast Harmonic Pop which encroaches Bubblegum.

Girlfriend even starts a little Sultans Of Swing and there is even hints of Pete Shelley. You might call this Lo-Fi, but this EP is much more than that. The sound is really affectionate and you imagine how big this lot could be with a bigger studio budget. What a cracking listen this is.



You can listen to and buy the EP here.


...............

Monday 19 February 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist



Another 27 splendid songs. A sort of soundtrack for your week that can be listened to in one go or bit by bit. There is no song preference in track order, just what we think flows.  I do hope that you can listen to all the songs across this week. The last listed is as great as the first and you have all week to listen. 

This weekly playlist is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. All embeds open in new windows to aid scrolling. Links to the artists will also appear on I Don't Hear A Single Social Media sites over the next 24 hours. This will help you to discover more about the artists who appear here. Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists.


Bears In Trees - Hot Chocolate




Nick Frater - The Devil You Know




The Eyebrows - Say Yeah!




Laughing In Slow Motion - Her Mother Was An Astronaut




Short In The Sleeve - For A Band I Once Loved




hey, nothing - Flora




Deer - Bernado





Tugboat Captain - Bosch




Nick Ramirez - Complicate It




CHAFT - Sun




Electric Pets - Then We Kissed




The Haptics - Mouse




Devin Farney - Old Fashioned Song





Abraham Cloud - Teenage Acne (with the English Lady)




Everyday Dogs - Python




Eight Two - Determinism




Gabby & The Gondolas - How To Make Art




The Green L.E.D.s - This Better Be Good




The Mars McClanes - GILM!




Karyn Michaelson - To Russia With Love




Joelias - Stay (Radio Edit)




Grocer - Packrat




The Warning - S!CK





Spun Mellow - Motion




Dr Sure's Unusual Practice - Celebration




Kaksipäinen Koira - Hologrammi




The Bluebell Smile - I'm Alright



.............................

Sunday 18 February 2024

The Special Pillow - Meets The Space Monster

 


The Special Pillow are back and they just get better and better. Completely out of kilter with their Hoboken, New Jersey surroundings, they specialise in a clever mix of Indie Pop and Psych Pop, completely emptying the instrument cupboard.

The alternating male and female vocals help variety, but more relevant are the directions that they take, sometimes mid song. Arrangements are complex at times, but the songs sound so simple with the odd exception and above all, the sheer catchiness just enthrals you.



Every one of these six songs is nothing like the other five and that versatility shines through. This is essentially the quirky Indie that I absolutely adore. So where do I start? Consecutively perhaps? Three On The Sundial is probably the most straight ahead song and that isn't that straight. This is great New Wave Pop with different instruments joining in randomly. 

A Certain Level Of Uncertainty is probably the song I enjoy the most, largely due to my absolute adoration of Psych Pop. It is aided by Katie Gentile's Viola and Violin which also joins in the wonderful chaos that closes the song.



Gentle takes on the vocal for the Ragtime that is Fond And Foggy, the Brass arrangement is outstanding. Give Up The Ghost sounds so Bowie Berlin instrumentally, yet That's The Way Its Got To Be is all 60s Spy Movie sound. Very 1967.

Then the closing, Nowhere To Go But Home is part Peaky Blinders, part Americana melancholia. Splendidly moody and dark with its haunting strings. Meets The Super Monster is even more inventive than Special Pillow have gone before and that is some going. Absolutely Magnificent!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


........................

Spud Davenport - Songs For The Cynical

 



 The Listening To This Week Playlist has exploded and as it is solely based on submissions rather than the albums we normally dig out ourselves. The aim was to give the single song a place that it never had on here previously. It has added a younger audience and the hope was that it would also open up new albums to review that we hadn't discovered.

Southern California's Spud Davenport is a prime example of the latter. Songs For The Cynical is a fine example of the rockier end of Pop Rock. A little more commercial than we normally cover perhaps, but an album that is dripping with melody and with and a fine statement of how engaging the genre can be.





The album is at its best when it Rocks and it does so in a very 80s way at times adding humour and tongue in lyrics. Come Inside and Roommates are both great examples of that 80s sound, the latter sounding more than a little Cheap Trick.

The slower songs work well too. Don't Flip Your Lid, for example, is aided by a great instrumental track, a sort of 80s Mellencap vibe that is aided by the addition of Brass. Car Wreck is a great Piano Pop Ballad that builds into great Soft Pop Rock and is built on a wonderful arrangement.





The Mary Grasso vocal on the big sounding, Let's Lead Together edges towards Country and adds even more variety. Paper Maps is built on a stomping rhythm track, a Bryan May like solo and a fine catch all chorus, but the real stand out song is the splendid Home For The Headaches.

That song borders on great Power Pop at times and stands up with any of the great Pop Rock presently around. Davenport, originally noted as a drummer, pieces everything together so well and his multi instrument skills are to be applauded. Songs For The Cynical is a fun packed album and fun is really what we need these days.




You can listen to the whole album here and buy it here and at these links.

.....................

Friday 16 February 2024

Nick Frater - The Rebutles 1967-1970

 

Nick Frater is someone who has been on here regularly via his solo albums. Here you get much more because the list of guest artists reads like a party at I Don't Hear A Single. Rather than take up all the writing space namechecking them here, I will post the list at the end of the review and you will see what I mean.

This isn't a tribute to The Beatles, but a tribute to that other world bothering band, The Rutles and this isn't a covers album. These are 11 original songs. The first Rebutles album covered the band's imagined solo years, now we get the band's rarities from the 1967 - 1970 period. 

All of the songs were recorded using instruments and recording methods from the period and written by Frater. Anything by the Croydon musician is always totally melodic and catchy and here the mix of vocalists is particularly splendid. 



It is deliberately akin to both fab fours and loyal to the period, particularly the magnificent The Devil You Know and in true Rutles fashion the material is great pastiche, but the songs stand up in their own right beautifully. For instance you don't have to be in Mensa to realise what Loose Tea In Disguise is aimed at.

Don't Play The Fool is part great McCartney Piano Pop, but also stands up in comparison to those great 70s Pop Rock albums. Back In The Unicorn Inn is obviously aimed at the USSR song, but it also sounds very Harrison and is also very Bop Shoo Wop. 



I could go on, but so many of you are Beatles fans that you will immediately get the references, indeed novices would too. There is also plenty of faithful references to The Rutles, particularly involving Tea. Indeed Frater takes the Innes role and cracks it with the mixture of melody and wit.

Many of you know how I don't "get" tribute albums in most shapes or forms, this isn't that. Also many albums laden in with can be one joke, this isn't that either. There is a real warmth in the arrangements, just like the band they acknowledge managed. The album is both heartwarming and great Pop and you really can't ask for more than that.



You can listen to and buy the album here.

The Cast :

Nick Frater - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keys, Anvil

Kirkcaldy McKensie - Vocals

Ivan Clare - Vocals

Luke Smith - Vocals, Guitar

Jake Smith - Vocals, Guitar

Peter Watts - Vocals, Guitar

Joe Kane - Vocals, Guitar, Tapes, Fire Bell

Jamie Whelligan - Vocals, Bass

Chris Mulligan - Bass

Andy Pickering - Keys

Andy Thompson - Mellotron

Joe Montague - Drums

Chris Twomey - Backing Vocals

Scott Robertson - Backing Vocals

Kevin Robertson - Backing Vocals

Ross Palmer - Recorder

Scott Gagner - Psychedelic breakfast

Michael Simmons - Bass harmonica

Simon Love - Percussion


..................................

Thursday 15 February 2024

The Violet Twilight - Above The Clouds

 

There is a fair amount of Psych coming out of Australia, we probably know why as so many seem to want to reference the band that release an album almost weekly. It has gotten to the point that when I see them as a reference, I move on to the next page. Few sound like them and if I'm honest, I find King Gizzard a little dull and mediocre.

So you have to tread carefully when you see the words Psychedelic Rock. Thankfully, The Violet Twilight are a notable exception. Tim Butcher is from Jiggi in New South Wells and he is The Violet Twilight and he has fashioned up a splendid mix of gentle, almost Pastoral Psych.



The comparison instrumentally is a little Kula Shaker, even Orgone Box with much fewer words. The soundscape is amazing and dominates proceedings and it is even more effective when it heads into eastern influences. But when you get more words, it heightens itself to even greater levels.

The magnificent Run Rabbit, Run is simply wonderful Psych Pop, a song that should be added to all Playlists. There is no fear in picking up the pace and Daisies does so wonderfully, providing something that nears Pop Rock adds a top notch Psych Jangle.



Our Secrets's verse is hypnotic and the chorus communal, but instrumentally it rises to even greater levels with a jaw dropping arrangement. The fact that The Violet Twilight are a one man band is even more impressive and the closer, The Children Of The Sun has to be heard to be believed. It is epic.

At times I am reminded of early Tame Impala, before Kevin Parker wanted to be The Chemical Brothers. I listen to a lot of Psych and Psych Pop that doesn't make it here because of the genre mix that we want. Above The Clouds is an album that can match the best of the genres. Terrific!



You can listen to and buy the album here.


...........................

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Catch Up To Begin

 

Apologies for the lack of Reviews. There are currently 10 to write which I hope to start tomorrow. I'm also  tied up with real life work and I Don't Hear A Single has started 2024 busier than it's ever been. The success of Listening To This week has also been a bit gobsmacking. 

It was only planned to be a small addition. Today alone has had 93 song submissions. Many won't suit here, but they all have to be listened to and crackers do emerge. February will contain as much content as ever, I just need to take a deep breath and dig in.


.....................

Monday 12 February 2024

Listening To This Week Playlist



Shorter than usual this week at 22 songs, but the quality is as high as ever. An eclectic mix of the poptastic and much more. A sort of soundtrack for your week that can be listened to in one go or bit by bit. There is no song preference in track order, just what we think flows.  

I do hope that you can listen to all the songs across this week. The last listed is as great as the first and you have all week to listen. This weekly playlist is solely for submissions, not the usual stuff that we dig out ourselves. 

All embeds open in new windows to aid scrolling. Links to the artists will also appear on I Don't Hear A Single Social Media sites over the next 24 hours. This will help you to discover more about the artists who appear here. Thank you for supporting the new music from Indie artists.


The Jack Knives - Ghost Radio




Pretty Good Sofa - Dr. Mordite




Curling - Shamble (Single Edit)




Bonnie Lola - The Worker




Willie Dowling - The Simpleton




Chemtrails - Business Class War Paint




Lightspeed - For All We Know





the bv's - I can't stand the rain




Mansfield - Someone Else





Agent blå - Discount




E. James Smith - Pushed On The Rails




Sea Dramas - No Poetry




Vogue Villains - A Slow Ride (At The Speed Of Light)





Janus 4-14 - June Meets Tulip




Little Miss Echo - Optigan




Outer World - The Drum The Beat




KEYSIDE - Turn Back The Time




You Filthy Dog - We Should Form A Band




No Lonesome - Cool Waters




The Lovinas - Silhouette




The Threepios - Run, Luke, Run!





The Fourth Wall - Darkness Of Heart



.............................

Friday 9 February 2024

Lions Of The Interstate - Strange Empires


I am a big admirer of what Andy at Braxeling Records releases. It is one of the few labels that get a banner on here which is a testament to how interesting the label is and the Portland Oregon five piece, Lions Of The Interstate have released the quality album that they've threatened to make.

Strange Empires is a wonderful listen. The band specialise in a gentle Indie Rock that at times edges towards Psych, Indie Pop and even a little Shoegaze. Songs are more like soundscapes, built on hypnotic riffs with an understated vocal. Not a million miles away from Nada Surf.



The front half of the album is very much in this area, very much as I expected and works incredibly well and I'd be happy if it just stayed this way to ease my way through the day. Then from White Trucks onwards, the album heads in a different direction, very varied and suddenly you are even more in admiration.

White Trucks itself is very upbeat second half of the 80s UK Indie. A real lively cracker of a song that leads on to Road Death which is all vocal harmony Jangle Pop. I'd obviously heard Lost In Spokane before and this West Coast Pop with its Fleetwood Mac chorus and additional Brass remains as great as ever. 



Loose Cannon is New York Indie, almost Garage Rock with its top notch Fuzz that sounds deliberately under produced and yet still has vibes of Glasgow. Bolt Of Blue has a fantastic bassline and a great Indie Pop Guitar minimalism and a surprise addition of Cello.

Happy Birthday is even more out of kilter. Kyla Henry's vocal adds a boy girl jaunty Dream Pop affair, more akin to Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott song. That is the delight of this album, you get what you want and then you see a completely different side to the band that just makes you want to applaud. Absolutely splendid!



You can listen to and buy the album as a download, CD or Vinyl album here


........................

Chemtrails - The Joy Of Sects

 


Manchester quartet Chemtrails reach their third album and what an interesting journey it has been. That journey has been a lo-fi one, a delightful voyage offering up a sort of Punky Psych Power Pop that is enchanting and more than interesting.

The Joy Of Sects sounds like an album where it has all come together. The Psych Pop has been toned down, but it is still present and when it arrives, it is particularly wonderful, particularly the magnificent Superhuman Superhighway and Endless Stream Of The Bizarre. The big difference is the production and that studio production has fully realised.

This is a credit to Margo Broom whose work at Heritage Works Studios has been a revelation. She has the ability to bring out the best in creative bands, allowing them to perform fully realised songs that sound great without the artists losing their mojo. Her production here is awesome.



Chemtrails here sound very 80s New Wave, a little B52s, especially on (Post Apocalypstick) where they also get a little Devo and Spacey. Mia Lust and Laura Orlova's vocals are as quirky as ever, part Cyndi Lauper, part Cindy Wilson, part Noosha Fox. Squeaky, but incredibly addictive.

This quirkiness might not completely work were it not for the brilliance of the arrangements and both the crack rhythm section who enhance the adeptness of the lyrics and the inventive Guitar parts. These allow the Pop to thrive.



Catch all choruses just hook you completely and underline what a fine band they are. It is an album full of surprises and one to be listened to from start to finish. All hail to the album format, no playlist could ever enchant you in this way.

The band do seem a little out of kilter with the mediocrity of the UK scene, this is an album that should do great in the States who strangely seem more open to Indie inventiveness. Chemtrails allow you to marvel at the complexity of the lyrics and arrangements, yet you also need to find the space to dance. What an incredible album!



You can listen to and buy the album here. It is a great investment of your time.


.....................

Thursday 8 February 2024

The Second Summer – Undertow

 


Now here's an album that is right up our street. Chicago's The Second Summer are a quartet that go back to the glory days when singles led to albums and Undertow is the resulting album and in more ways than one, this is truly an album of killer singles. 

Everything built on crackerjack riffs, melodic Guitar Pop and massive choruses that lead to memorable songs. They can be anything you want them to be, largely the best of Pop Rock from the past three or more decades.

Take for instant, the magnificent Something. A song that its heart sounds like a Jon Auer Posies song, but also glimpses of Teenage Fanclub and a rocked up Undertones. It is a wondrous listen. Yet Invisible is more 80s Jangle Pop.



Undertow opens with the Power Pop monster that is The Reason, a very 90s Not Lame affair that fully demonstrates the joy of the genre. Melodic verse, massive chorus, great harmonies and a riff that hooks you completely.

Wonder Why is again great Jangle Pop, sped up this time with a more Fountains Of Wayne feel and a corking Guitar solo. Yet Adults has a more melancholic 90s woe affair, a little REM or IRS and a haunting riff that is very College Rock.



Bad Feeling splits Weezer with West Coast Guitar Pop and offers more melodic joy. Undefeated rocks things up, more than a little Feeder and Never Not Forever is the nearest that you will get to a Ballad, but is still anthem with its crashing chords and the Guitar parts edge towards UK Glam Rock. 

I love albums that are built on choruses, but Undertow is much more than that. At times, I think we are moving away from Pop Rock a little and then an album like this makes you realise that you are not in any way, you were just waiting to be rewaken and this album woke me up clearly.



You can listen to and buy the album here. I will update this review when I have the album release date. My good friend Patrick has a great interview with Steve Gatland on his Sweet Sweet Music Blog here.


............................