Stoney “More Than Animals”
The media is always looking to find the next “big” musical rock star to move the masses, and Mark Stoney is positioned to be it. Fans of Arcade Fire and Coldplay will find Stoney’s dramatic vocals and stadium sized themes most pleasing as heard on the opening track “Sweet Release.” The echoing background harmonies are layered just right into a pretty well slick pop hook. “The Score” goes in a different direction, getting darker almost shoegaze like, but maintains a driving riff that keeps you hooked till the end. “Defiantly Loved” goes back to that big theme, with a huge chorus that demands attention.
Stoney doesn’t sit in any genre too long, so labeling him is difficult but its clear he appreciates a good pop melody. “Devil On My Back” goes back to the catchy goth angst that bands like Muse and The Doves thrive on. “Bedpost” proves to carry the most emotion – it feels like an album finale, and the tracks after it lack the energy to carry Stoney over the finish line until the very Beck-like blues-pop of “Round Here.” There is plenty here to love and recommend, so catch Stoney now before fame catches him first.
Midrone “My Kingdom”
Paul J.N. is a musician from Madrid, Spain known as Midrone. He favors a polished synth-pop sound, that is highly influenced by Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones. While the song “Addicted To You” takes a while to build up, it rewards the patient listener with a fine melody. If you enjoyed the melodies of Dynamo Bliss, you will also like “Blood On Your Hands” with its excellent chord shifts. Paul’s vocals are a bit pedestrian, but the vocorder effects keep songs like “the Best Day Of Your Life” fresh and exciting.
What makes Midrone special is the compositions, “Another Land” is a big highlight, a beautiful piano melody comparable with Julian Lennon and the disco rhythms of “Ghosts” and “Little By Little” will bring you back to the Godley and Creme era of pop. My only pet peeve here is that the songs are too long (a few over 5 minutes) but don’t let that stop you from sampling these impressive synth-pop songs.