The Grapes of Wrath and The Evening Cast

The Grapes of Wrath “High Road”
At the request of a Popaholic reader, I sought this album out (thanks, Jonathan!) and boy was it worth it. The Grapes of Wrath is a Canadian trio that’s been around since the 80’s, similar in style to REM with heavy jangle influence. Brothers Chris and Tom Cooper are joined by lead singer Kevin Kane (who btw had a terrific solo LP a few years back). I’ve always liked the band, even though they never seemed to breakout successfully in the U.S. – but High Road is poised to do just that.

The shining harmonies and hook-filled riffs of “Good To See You” are similar to both The Orange Peels and Teenage Fanclub. The Beatlesque “Mexico” is another vivid melody  with Duane Eddy styled twang and hand claps. And without any drop off in quality, “Paint You In Blue” sounds closer to past GoW material, and “I’m Lost (I Miss You)” is a stunning emotional ballad. They go in the other direction and “Make It OK” is like a lost Oasis outtake. Each tune stands out – it may have taken 20 years, but these guys deserve to be on the top ten album list for 2013. Don’t miss it.

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The Evening Cast “Lake”
This Melbourne band is creating quite a buzz down under, started by brothers Joel and Paul Cooper, alongside Joel’s wife Rachel the melodic “Knots and Bows” starts subtle and grows on you like a weed. The glowing synth melodies remind me of Lightships, The Ocean Blue or Keane. “No Stopping” is a great example, with a soulful vocal and strong ambient rhythms that stick in your head.  “Heartbeat” is a lounge-like harmonic melody with booming percussion, and its a real winner here for me. This is a band discovering itself and having a great time doing it. Check it out.

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