Three Hour Tour and Chapa

Three Hour Tour “Looking For Tomorrow”
Three Hour Tour returns and this time Darren Cooper’s pop vision is joined by Adam Schmitt, Brad Elvis and Paul Chastain (Velvet Crush).  Unlike earlier efforts, Looking For Tomorrow emphasizes the “power” part of power pop. Cooper’s heavy guitar chords  on “Pig In Disguise” reminds me of Bob Mould’s band Sugar, with a pounding beat and straight ahead melody.  “For Now We Say Goodnight” is another gem with a hook filled riff that inspires air guitar theatrics. Things slow down a bit on “Alcatraz” with it’s measured tempo it recalls Richard X. Heyman. My favorite tune here is the anthemic “All We Need” with just the right amount of riffage, melody and solid harmonies. All the songs work spectacularly well, and other standouts include the jangling “Looking for Tomorrow” and “Dead Reckoning.” No filler here and very consistent all the way through. One of the best rock releases this year, fans of Myracle Brah and Guided By Voices will also flip for this. Makes my top ten list for 2010 and highly recommended to crank up on your stereo.

Chapa “Creation Room”
Far from their native Brazil, Chapa was launched in Rio de Janeiro and has relocated in London for Creation Room, the band’s first english language album. Named after the rehearsal room where the Fagundes brothers (Marcos, Diego and Felipe) learned to play together, you hear plenty of rock and theatrical influences througout. “Before You Go” is a nod to Queen, with smooth harmonies and march-like tempos.  “Just A Dream” is a rich dramatic piano ballad with Marco’s strong vocal. The band has a great sound as evidenced on “Highs and Lows,” but lyrics throughout the album are ultimately forgettable. The many melodic shifts on songs like “To The Bone” sound Beatlesque, or in “Move The Night” are similar to 10cc in style, but nothing ties the songs together and ultimately it disappoints. Often times the vocals sound like they don’t match the composition (“Silver Falls”) and despite the obvious talent on display here, not a single hook sticks. Even with all the right ingredients, this musical souffle just can’t help but to collapse.