Robert Gay “When I Was Young”
I don’t know much about Nashville musician Robert Gay, but with the help of his band (The Alarms) he’s put together When I Was Young. Gathering memories of his youth, it looks back searching for meaning in life, thematically like The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Opening with the slow wistful title track, but then jumping into the summery melody “For You” full of horns and hope. This slow-fast alternating tempo of songs continues throughout.
“Sunday Afternoon” is a beautifully orchestrated song with woodwinds and harmonies. “Katie” is back to the fast-paced approach, “Floating Away” has a delicate acoustic melody, about the very beginnings of loss and this segues into the dramatic “Trouble.” Next comes the bright Squeeze-like single “Everyone I Know,” with darkness lurking just between each chorus, and a little Ska influence peeks through too. The writing is top notch, especially on the gem “Want To Want Again,” with a perfect hook, catchy beat and a tuned guitar distortion – one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. The album ends off with some orchestral pop, “Open Roads” similar to a Neil Diamond epic. Highly Recommended.
The Real Impossibles “It’s About Time 1983-1988”
The Real Impossibles were an L.A. band started by Marc Platt in 1983, he hooked up Probyn Gregory (Wondermints, Brian Wilson band) and some friends helped him put out a EP. After some positive reviews, Platt then put together a live band that worked the same club circuit with The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, and The Plimsouls. In fact after the Plimsouls broke up, lead singer Peter Case joined The Impossibles in the studio on a few tracks. But the band never made that leap to national fame. This is a 23 song retrospective from this hard-to-find “lost” power pop band.
Some songs still hold up nicely the opener “Burned” being one of them. An energetic cover of Neil Diamond’s “Cherry Cherry” follows, with highlights being the jangle-filled “Here and Now” and “Turn My World.” Some tunes have a bit of punk attitude, reminding me a little of The Godfathers or The Romantics. Other tracks are very solid 80’s guitar pop, and its hard to see how the mainstream overlooked the band. The production quality varies from song to song, based on the condition of the masters. For fans of the ’80s era, this should be an essential part of your music collection.