Dwight Twilley “Always”
Twilley’s first album since the loss of long-time guitarist Bill Pitcock IV wasn’t easy, but he’s soldiered on for a fan base that is energized every time he takes the stage. He continues the thick production style of 2011’s Soundtrack and his nod to the fans starts off with the title track, a reference to his classic “I’m on Fire.”
“A Million Miles Wide” recalls Tom Petty’s guitar on the intro, and the brilliant “Into The Flame” proves Twilley will always be able to write a power pop gem. The slow piano chords drive “Everyone’s Crazy,” which reminds me of Jeff Lynne a bit, with its background strings. Twilley’s defiant Texas bar-room rant “Til The Jukebox Dies” is another rocker that screams “No Surrender” followed by the 12-string melody of “We Were Scared.” The songs are well constructed (though I wish Twilley’s vocals were less obscured by production fuzz) and this is a fine addition to the Twilley discography.
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Ward White “Ward White is The Matador”
Ward White is a brilliant vocalist and arranger, proven by his last LP Bob, but this time he’s surrounded himself with added talent to make The Matador extra special. Bryan Scary does keyboard and Graham Norwood adds his guitar and you’ve got something that needs to be experienced. White’s delicate tenor are equal parts Colin Blunstone, and young David Bowie as he drifts through each narrative.
The synth beat on “Sabbath” leads to a a rich atmospheric chorus, where he’s tripping out with a wild textured pyche-beat crescendo. “Alphabet Of Pain” is a light baroque pop treat about “pain that is almost guaranteed.” The 60’s lounge styled “Balloon” has an great chorus full of soaring harmonies and “Chiquita” is another richly developed gem that is most like Bowie. It takes a few detours by mid album, but really becomes a full art-pop performance on the 20 minute “The Olde Days.” If your tastes run left-of-center, this will just absorb you.