The Squires of The Subterrain and Toxic Melons

The Squires of The Subterrain “The Squires of The Subterrain”
Christopher Earl is back to his Beatles-Merseybeat fetish on this new self-titled album. Similar to DIY pop of Guided By Voices and Chris Breetveld, Earl starts us off with “The Windows” a trippy track with a really cool chorus of echoing harmonies. The “Penny Lane” styled horns lead “History” with its melodic catchiness and single note piano rhythm, then “This Charming Place” adds cellos and rich Kinks-like lyrics about a local bar. The songs early on are wonderfully layered and XTC fans will savor the first 3 songs. Earl runs into complete parody with “Private Gherkin’s Psychedelic Silly Mustache Band” along the lines of They Might Be Giants.

Clearly no filler here, from the catchy “Attitude and Altitude” to the Lennon inspired “Jet-Black Sunrise.” Then,”Dr. Van Der Jagt” goes into full “Dear Prudence” mode with Earl’s nasal vocal fitting perfectly. Unlike earlier Beatles-centric offerings this one really concentrates on the Fabs late 60’s psychedelic style. Highly Recommended.

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Toxic Melons “Bus Therapy”
I heard an advance demo of “Take Me Back” from Bus Therapy and was blown away by the crisp harmonies, rich-pastoral melody and knew it was something very special. For this new LP Pablo Melons has recruited some top notch talent to help; Eric Dover, Chadwick Salls, Taylor Locke, Chris Price, Linus of Hollywood, and Fernando Perdomo. And several tracks are just outstanding.

But Melons inconsistency is just maddening, “More or Less” is a defiant piano-organ rant that sets the stage and its a decent start. Unfortunately, next comes the sleep-inducing 4 minute instrumental “Journey” and then the low vocal “Let Me Sleep” that didn’t quite wake me up. Thankfully the Jellyfish-styled “Change The World” is next and its one of the highlights. But then comes “Disco Balls, ” a Zappa-influenced synth-guitar mess. For each good song (“Take Me Back”) we get a rotten one  (“Getting Old”). My advice is to cherry-pick this effort for maximum enjoyment.

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