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Album Review: TBA

Friday, October 15, 2010

Album Review: Kelley Stoltz - To Dreamers

Listening to San Franciscan Kelley Stoltz‘ upbeat, shuffling rhythms, all bathed in gloriously warm tones, is like having summer beamed directly into your ears. Melody is paramount in everything he does, and for this he naturally heads back to the surf pop, merseybeat and skiffle sounds of the 50s and 60s. On previous albums, he’s managed to cram as much Beatles and Beach Boys’ sounds in as is humanely possible and yet, whilst those sounds are still there (‘Bottled Up’ is pure ‘Eleanor Rigby’), on To The Dreamers there are noticeable deviations with a more proto-punk fervour being displayed and curious psychedelic and melodic electronic touches scattered hither and thither.

Where as ‘Rock & Roll With Me’, ‘I Remember, You Were Wild’ or ‘I Like, I Like’ inspire shaking heads and shimmying hips with a pitching drumbeat, a warbling sax or a metronomic tambourine, tracks like ‘Keeping The Flame’ or ‘Fire Escape’ get noticeably scattergun with sharp guitar strikes, howling pedal effects and theremin interjections exploding the simplicity of the backbeat with coloured bursts of psychedelia. ‘Pinecone’ and ‘Ventriloquest’ then shift down a gear, placing us on a gently lapping shore whilst a pinged bass tosses skippers over the wave tops and hammered keys dig out the sandcastles.

Multi-instrumentalist Stoltz has a small degree of help here, but the majority of what’s on display is performed by the man himself. His live band step in on a couple of tracks and there’s a delightfully buzzy cover of ‘Baby I Got News For You’ where “Big Boy” Pete Miller steps in to sing and play (on the same valve amp and guitars that he used on his 1965 original). Unsurprisingly, this track fits snugly into the album amongst all the other jostling nods to that particular era of gentile music. You can’t help but smile as each track kicks in and takes you spinning back down that time wormhole yet again. To Dreamers is, indeed, the perfect title for an album, innocently dedicated to all those nostalgic souls that yearn for a return to a time when things were just that little bit less complicated.

Also online @ TLOBF =

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