Identical Suns “Identical Suns”
Like several other bands, songwriters Todd Stanton and Rene Rodriguez collaborated long distance on their debut album Identical Suns. Although the vocals are a little rough, “Baby I’m Down” has plenty of feeling and the spirit of Springsteen and The Raspberries are evident. “Nothing I Can Do” is a big standout, a rich warm composition very much like Stephen Lawrenson. The California styled pop of “Coulda Sent A Reminder” and “Yesterday Ended At Midnight” have the early ’70s as a main influence with easy strums and beautiful backing harmonies. The catchy “Common Ground” is another highlight with special guest star Christian Phillips of the Sonic Executive Sessions doing backing vocals.
The style changes on the hard rock of “E.M.I.L.Y.” and again on the piano melody “The Turn,” which sounds like Dennis Wilson playing for Golden Earring. It seems like the band is trying to see which style “sticks” best, and a few songs overstay their welcome (“Unraveled”). I liked the mellower compositions, including the sweet ballad “After The Lullaby.” These Suns do have some shining moments, so give them a chance to warm your heart.
Gordon Weiss “It’s About Time”
Connecticut musician Gordon Weiss delivers his sophomore album, and the energetic “The Ugly Side” is a catchy song about the state of political discourse when each side is perceived as “ugly.” Gordon then goes to “I’m Your Fan,” an inner monologue of a music nerd at a concert. The songs are mostly sparsely produced ( “Spinning Round” is the exception) and strongly composed.
The circular piano melody on “Sticky Thoughts” has a few Beatley moments, but Gordon doesn’t make this a primary focus. It’s the story and the lyrics that add depth and a bit more weight to the title track, “About Time.” This long song starts slowly about the anxieties of the past, and builds to a strong chorus that reminds me of Richard X. Heyman. But for all those with rock star dreams “The Great Imitator” is an epic saga of a musician who fears “If the melody’s catchy, would they say its’ too treacley? If I wrote Hey Jude, would they say it’s too Beatley?” This is an album that deserves to have its poetic stories listened to more than once.