Eric Barao is a singer/songwriter from Massachuettes with quite the pedigree. Co-founder of The Cautions, he’s been part of Air Traffic Controller and L.E.O. That last band was run by powerpop icon Bleu, and he produces Eric’s debut along with Ducky Carlisle… so hold on to your hat.
Opening with the mid-tempo “One Holiday” its very much like Jason Falkner lite. The descending piano chords run into a hard pause before the hooky chorus, and the follow up “Trying Too Hard” slows down to a ballad tempo, and the melody is just amazing. Bleu’s fingerprints are all over “New Earth,” one of those Jellyfish-ELO styled flourish-filled songs sure to stick in your head. Another standout is the ballad “In Love With A Broken Heart,” a beautifully written song about “lessons learned too late.”
One track that seems to have life beyond the LP is “To All You Guys” about overcoming bullying – its an inspiration for any kid dealing with social challenges. The light airy “Running In Place” is highlighted by sunny background harmonies. The ending tracks “She Needs Air” and “Sugar and Cream” are full of bright pop atmospherics that highlight Eric’s vocal range. And despite rarely having any quick tempos, the songwriting and performances keep things from getting dull. Being a soft-rock album, the guitars play a minor role and the keyboards are the main force here. So without any duds amongst the ten tracks, this definitely stands as a contender for my top ten list for 2013.