Burning Ferns “See Saw Seen”
Without a doubt, this debut album from a quartet of musicians from South Wales gives us the best Beatlesque album since The Red Button. “John” is a not-so-subtle shout out to Lennon with its sweet chords. The two part harmonies, hand-claps and guitar jangle are all there for the masterful “All Roads Lead To Rome.” The laid back, breezy hooks are all over “Sand” and the thumping bass lines on “Crunch Time” are another highlight among many.
The compositions are different enough to prevent any fatigue, the psychedelics are kept to a minimum with a combination of great 6 and 12 string Rickenbackers doing all the heavy lifting here, so for fans of The Spongetones this album is a “no brainer.” The Burning Ferns don’t simply emulate the Fab Four, but take the music a small step further adding other influences, primarily The Byrds on the last track “Clouds Forming.” Don’t miss this one, its on my top ten for 2014 list.
And The Professors “Our Postmortem”
And The Professors is a three-year collaboration among members of The Honeydogs, Brother Ali, Chastity Brown, Heiruspecs, Dessa and the Minnesota Opera. Led by The Honeydogs Adam Levy, Our Postmortem is a mix of chamber pop and orchestral folk rock done with thought provoking lyrics and melodic hooks. Much like the Honeydogs 10,000 Years album, but with even richer orchestral palette. After a simple intro “We Are” adds the guitar lead with strings into a catchy chorus about life’s observations and emotions.
“Watching” is a little Randy Newman styled tune that explains the bands unusual name: “And The Professors don’t make confessions/they don’t care about market crashes or hunting fascists/they don’t feel your pain… they just tell you how it is!” And these pocket slices of life are just amazingly realized, like on “Turn of the Century Recycling Blues.” And the cascading strings and layered instrumentation is equally impressive on the slower methodical “Something Burning” and “Grateful.” One of the best “thinking man’s pop symphony” I’ve heard, check it out!