Luke Potter “So Sugar”
Many noticed Luke Potter’s talent early on with his debut EP last year, so he seems poised to break out into the mainstream this year with So Sugar. Influenced by artists like Jason Mraz, Fountains of Wayne, and The Goo Goo Dolls, he has a melodic streak to his music that’s designed to appeal to both mainstream pop fans and power pop fans. The fact that Bleu was chosen as producer here is a perfect choice, you can hear the digital fingerprints over the entire LP.
The title track’s buzzing guitar riff leads the strong melody, as the chorus floats along a bed of synths, this gives Luke his rock cred but the rest of the album is strictly pop oriented. “There it Goes Again” is another catchy gem with a “Da-da-da” backing vocal that burrows into your brain. The ballad “Crazy Enough” is full of sweeping orchestration, richly arranged and “Sadie” has a very simple, but effective melody. Potter’s strong crisp vocal is what sets his music apart from the latest “boy band” flavor of the month. The lyrics are also very positive throughout, “Its OK To Dream” is solid advice to any aspiring creative person and “Possibility” mines similar hopeful vibes. Overall there is a good mix of tempos, but no single track really stands out among the group after the opener. Luke will also be touring with Johnny Wright’s Pop Nation where he’ll be able to build some momentum and new fans. Highly recommended.
Don Lee “Who’s Talkin’ Out There?”
The easy going New Jersey musician Don Lee produced his fourth album, (and the silly looking cover aside) the music is a pleasant pop rock gem. Influences here include Squeeze, Brendan Benson and Brian Wilson. “Brand New Star” starts us off, with a simple guitar riff and chorus and wah-wah synth. The production is clean and uncluttered, “Pause in Motion” uses a simple acoustic guitar and bongos to get the emotional melody across. The party atmosphere of “When Will It Ever Go Your Way” contrasts with the downbeat lyrics about “falling behind” and “everyone has let you down.” The title track is a like a Joe Jackson rant, about the effects of rumors and innuendo and it has a catchy guitar melody that keep it fresh.
My favorite song here is the standout “Part of Nothing,” similar to Glenn Tilbrook it sticks in your head with a great piano/bass combo in the chorus. It’s music like this that really deserves to be heard and spread around. Other great tunes here include “All In Your Touch” and “One More Day of Denial.” Don doesn’t take things too seriously, and its this attitude that helps keep the music light and enjoyable. Consistent with his last LP, it’s also highly recommended. Listen on Don’s website.