Balduin “All in A Dream”
Balduin is a bit of a mystery man from Switzerland, but for lovers of retro pop this is one of the best recreations of psychedelic music I’ve heard. Heavily influenced by British pop of the late 60’s, Balduin performs these songs on a plethora of period instruments (sitar, mellotron, harpsichord, harmonium, etc.) and if you didn’t know better you’d think this was a lost gem from the record bins of 1968.
“Love Is You” is a sunny baroque pop confection similar to late era Beatles, and most consumer friendly with its sly hook. Next is the sitar raga “Which Dreamed It” recalling George Harrison, and the folky “Autumn” is a reverb heavy folk number like the Byrds or Donovan. Fans of retro acts like The Sunchymes or Any Version of Me will marvel at the delicate arrangements that Balduin creates, bringing the era to life. You can also play spot-the-influences of Syd Barrett, The Moody Blues, and The Kinks. There is some instrumental filler scattered about the 16 tracks, but most of these are gorgeous (“Prisma Colora”). “Father” is another standout, like a lost John Lennon solo (the missing piece between “Mother” and “Beautiful Boy”). Fans of period baroque can do no better. Highly recommended.
Exclusively from Sunstone Records
Flake “Songs Without Words”
Okay, this weirdness isn’t power pop, but a Swiss duo Thierry Luethy, and Isabelle Ritter do make quality art-pop that deserves to be discovered. No label, no distribution, no publicity — just download the tracks from their website for free.
And while some stuff here is totally skip-able (“Everytime I Get The Shakes,”) there is enough here to make me appreciate the hard work Thierry and Isabelle put in. Check out the catchy “Hipster Girl” and the compelling chorus of “We Are The Night.” Ritter’s vocals are gorgeous and rescues the more ambient compositions, and more modern pop goodies are here too: “Shooting Star” and “As Time Goes By.” The method of discovery and price of admission are just right for finding new music.