The Blood Rush Hour “And Then… The Unthinkable Happened”
I’d like to start off the new year with a great release, and The Blood Rush Hour has been happy to oblige. “And Then…” isn’t a traditional album, but more like a power pop musical with a pile of great influences from Supertramp, XTC and especially 10cc. The theatrical opener “Hello (They’re Coming To Get You)” is a stunner with a choral verse halfway through. Production work is reminiscent of 10cc’s “Original Soundtrack” or Jackdaw4. “Hard To Put Right” blends seamlessly into the mix, you almost can’t tell when one song ends and the next one begins. No filler, although the songs are so dense they don’t hook you immediately and very few have repeating choruses. So take your time and hit repeat frequently.
Lots of highlights; “A Song That Some Sing” is a beautiful ballad by guest singer Christian Phillips (The Sonic Executive Sessions) and the tropical “Nicola” displays a keen melody with a sweet falsetto. “Dancing By Yourself” and “(The Day I Finally) Stopped The War” are closer to pop singles with immediate impact. The ending pair of “You Don’t Seem To Wonder Why” and “I See Something” use more synth and the compositions remind me of Trevor Rabin-era Yes (particularly on the latter song.) Songwriter/producer Robert DeStefano has got a special album here, and it isn’t unthinkable to add this into my top 20 list from last year. Highly Recommended.
The Sunset District “The Sunset District”
This Atlanta, GA veteran band lead by John McNicholas gives us a fun debut that I missed last year, while it starts out a bit stiff on the opening (“We Can Stow Away the Sound Underground“) the next track “Candy Says” is warm and full of indie personality. You’ll hear the influences from REM to Fountains of Wayne, with the narrative structures of the catchy “I Will Always Be Your Man” showcasing a fine bass guitar lead.
The band gets a bit more aggressive on the fuzzy “Oh, Angelina!” and while not alt-country, its got that southern laid back charm, like on the duet harmonies with Kim Ware on “A Girl Like You” and “All Hail This Town.” I can definitely say that this band has potential, so check it out.