Promise “Promise” 2015 Remastered Edition
It’s rare that a lost power pop treasure like this gets dusted off and given an opportunity to shine. Promise was a little known band, originally issued in 1980 on the Boulder, Colorado, area band’s own Cumulus label, their eponymous debut is filled with melodic, beatific blasts of pure Beatlesque pop, replete with ringing, jangly guitars, and rollicking crunch. Co-led by singer-songwriter’s/guitarists Curt Mangan and Danny Mey—with bassist Randy Jones and drummer Gary York—the group was out of step with the new wave trends at the time, opting instead for a timeless rock sound.
Without a doubt Promise is a classic that deserves to be re-discovered. “Say Alright” is eerily like Badfinger with its boogie baseline and jangling rhythm. “Back in My Heart” has a great acoustic strum and Mangan sounds like Emmit Rhodes here. The vaguely Genesis-like prog ballad of “Guitar” is a sweet curve, and “Later On Tonight” brings more Badfinger comparisons. “Hands of Luck” is probably the catchiest single, with its thrilling chorus. The remaining tracks don’t reach these heights, but are consistently very good. The remastering is done from the original master tapes, and it sounds great. For the power pop fan this is manna from heaven.
The Bloodhounds “Let Loose”
A big thanks to Dave “The Boogieman” for turning me on to this classic retro band. Starting with “Indian Highway” its a mix of rockabilly, blues and catchy rhythm that sets the stage for this LP. Then the tempo speeds up on “Wild Little Rider” with its blues harmonica, you’ll hear a mix of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Bo Diddley all wrapped up in a neat package. Equally powerful is the echoing reverb on the bass guitar riff for “Saint Dee.”
Next the band gets inventive on “Dusty Bibles and Silver Spoons” with a simple lo-fi production, using kitchen pots and spoons as percussion instruments. They even use an old player piano for the dancehall ditty “Hey Lonnie,” but bar room R&B is what this band delivers more than anything else. I couldn’t find a really bad track, so if you want a little honky tonk mixed in your rock, this one is highly recommended.