Vegas with Randolph “Above The Blue”
If ever a band took the banner of power pop and flew with it, it’s Vegas With Randolph. This sophomore album from the team of Eric Kern and John Ratts keep things sharp and avoids boredom with an album-within-an-album concept. Starting with “The Better Part” it builds a mountain of harmonic layers one at a time, with a duel guitar attack in the chorus. The title track has those soaring chords, and optimistic view, it’s an excellent song similar to The Secret Powers with its dense production. “Sometime To Live” is a fast paced narrative along the lines of Fountains of Wayne.
And they get help from noteable guest stars; “A Lesser Fool” Maxi Dunn adds her lovely vocal to the mix and the awesome Vinnie Zummo adds his guitar to “She Does It For Me”. A cute love song to actress Marisa Tomei and a few novelty tunes are followed by the second “album” called Double Play. Now horns are added to the mix and it adds several musical suites that overlap into each other perfectly. Highlights are “Alone/Wondering” and the climactic “Light of Day.” Overall, this is an excellent album without a wasted note, that hits every mood you could possibly have… even a jingle for a Sippy Cup! And like those great double LPs of the past, this one holds up over its 28 track length.
Ocean Grove “Another Place To Stay” EP
These guys are rumored to be the backing band for the Jonas Brothers! But this quartet lead by John Taylor (vocals/guitar) is simply amazing. John’s highly melodic hard rocking style reminds me of Taylor Locke and The Roughs or Enuff Z’Nuff. “Away” certainly will take you away on a rock and roll trip, like the beginning of summer vacation. The big guitar riffs lead this band along and it just compels you to raise the volume. The harmonies on the bouncy “Take It Easy” are a joy to listen to, and “The Best” is about getting that big record deal in L.A., I’m sure many musicians can identify with these lyrics. Both “So Cool” and the ballad “Won’t Say Goodbye” are also super catchy. Highly recommended and one of the best EPs I’ve heard all year.
Ocean Grove \”I Want You In Love\” from the debut EP.