Gary Frenay “File Under Pop Vocal”
One of the most under appreciated power pop bands of the early ’80s was Syracuse, NY-based The Flashcubes. Featured in Ken Sharp’s just released Play On! Powerpop Heroes Volume II, the band did get some fan love later on at IPO and during a Japanese reunion. Thankfully, lead singer-songwriter Gary Frenay has continued to make music.
File Under Pop Vocal is a bit of adult oriented pop and rock that boasts fine melodies and an excellent supporting cast; Tommy Allen (The Flashcubes, Television), Arty Lenin (The Flashcubes, Paul Collins Band), Maura and Pete Kennedy and Marshall Crenshaw to name a few.
“Blue Topaz” is a smooth pop gem that channels Elvis Costello, and the romantic love song “Our Eyes Have Voices” reminds me of Todd Rundgren balladry. A cover of Brian Wilson’s “Its Like Heaven” has plenty of great harmonies and fits perfectly here. A few tracks like “Winterview” are generic adult pop, with “It’s Your Heart” serving as a faux Bacharach tune (with horn accents.) Still most songs hit the mark, listen to it all on You Tube below.
The Dewars “All A Part Of The Show”
Vaguely creepy twin brothers Anthony and Zachary Dewar write music for the downtrodden in love. “Sucker For Your Hometown” opens with the compelling harmonies about broken dreams – comparable to Ween or The Beta Band at its most irreverent. “Music In The Money Industry” is another gem that’s catchy and dripping with irony. “Come Back Baby Girl” increases the tempo, but keeps the same dramatic desperation.
The slow deliberate horns and echoing vocals do start to drone on in “Beach Country,” and the elegant “Switzerland” has classical strings that shift to a slow guitar march about the numbness of World War II, with tension bubbling just under the surface. The fun continues on the soft-shoe of the title track, which casually says “we lost a drummer to heroin” but really serves as an introduction – only this is the last song here (oh I get it).