Sunday, April 30, 2017

Quickbits : Humphrey-McKeown, Lonely Robot, Mew

Humphrey-McKeown - Tapestry of shadows (2017) Americana from windy city
"Tapestry of shadows" is the 5th album from Chicago based Americana / folk rock band Humphrey-McKeown, led by Heather Humphrey - Lead Vocals/Piano and Tom McKeown - Lead Vocals/Guitars/Banjo.
Although, this album is mainly filled with classic Americana sounds, the listener will find traces of jazz and blues in "You don´t know me" and progressive rock in "You and I".
I´m not a fan of the entire album but I do like "Your secret´s safe" that bring thoughts to Led Zeppelin IV and the beautiful" Sasha on the carousel", not to mention the folk-rock-prog-ish "Passing shadows" which is the best song on the album.
I don´t know if the band tour like crazy but they could easily fool me because they sound like a tight unit that performs 100 shows per year.
(+) Thumbs up for the great performance on acoustic bass from Tony Meadors.
(-) The vocals are a bit too high and sharp in the mix.

Lonely Robot - The big dream (2017) A magnum opus of pomp indeed
Sit down, relax and get ready for a true prog-rock adventure from John Mitchell´s Lonely Robot, the stunning new album "The big dream" is the follow up to "Please Come Home" (2015) and I must say that I did have high expectations since I love the first album so much.
But "The big dream" does not only fulfill my expectations, it´s even better than the great debut.
John Mitchell - Vocals/Guitars/Bass/Keyboards and his bandpartner from Frost, Craig Blundell - Drums, have created something extraordinary. Imagine what a fan would say if he could make 3 wishes from a fairy for the perfect prog-rock album.
The fairy would say -Here it is, Lonely Robot´s "The big dream".
The prog-rock year of 2017 just gets better and better with releases from Blackfield, The Mute Gods, Voyager and now Lonely Robot. Oh my.
(+) Sigma! Where did that masterpiece come from?
(-) ..................................

Mew - Visuals (2017) Art-pop perfectionism
"Visuals" is the 7th studio album from Mew, and for once it came out pretty fast after the latest record so I´m not complaining a bit here. I will shut my mouth.
It was 6 years between "No more stories" (2009) and "+ -" (2015) so this trio must´ve been in a creative process of writing new material since we get "Visuals" so soon.
So how does the new record sound like? Well, it sounds like Mew! Absolutely wonderful.
Founding member and guitarist Bo Madsen left the band in 2015 after 20 years in the band, making "Visuals" the first record without him but lead singer Jonas Bjerre is handling the guitar duties in the studio and Mads Wegner will replace him as touring guitarist.
However, it didn´t affect the quality of the songwriting because I´m amazed.
(+) Is Mew influenced by Sigur Rós or was it the other way around? Both started at the same time.
(-) Too bad they didn´t include the 2016 song "Count to ten" because it´s only available on the Transformers Roll Out Soundtrack.

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