Graham Alexander “Repeat Deceiver”
With his eclectic style, Graham Alexander is back with a new album and he’s leaning more on the “rock” side of the fence than the commercial “pop” side for Repeat Deceiver. His vocals have been compared to Sir Paul before, but now he’s ready to burst out with that lead riff in the catchy title track.
Graham’s enthusiasm and authenticity ooze out of each track, “Romeo Blue” also throws on rhythms and grooves that keeps your toes tapping to the melody. He also takes no shortcuts, that’s real strings on the ballad “Games” and he doesn’t stick to a set formula either. He could go all show tune-like on “Third Wheel” or country rock for “People Are Only Sorry When They’re Caught.” I like the hummable “Cartography,” and the aching love song “American Au Pair In Paris.” It’s a finely crafted album that just makes it into the running for my top LPs list this year.
Pete Donnelly “American Town” EP
Pete Donnelly has played with many great rockers(Tommy Stinson, Graham Parker) and bands(The Figgs, NRBQ) but the New Jersey songwriter also needs to express his personal feelings on his solo work. After last year’s excellent Face The Bird, Pete’s newest EP explores issues related to inequality and the American dream on American Town.
The music is more folk Americana than the usual pop based songs, starting out with the breezy “So Long,” featuring backup vocals from Shelby Lynne. Then comes “Making Changes Overnight” with its bouncy beat and hopeful message. The title track is a real standout, a Tommy Pettyesque chorus about those who’ve returned home from war and the horrible treatment they get. It’s a great protest song that overshadows the other lighter tracks, songs that match subtlety with style on “Pink Noise” and “Downhearted Crazy.”