The Fad “The Now Sound”
Rescued from certain oblivion, this early 80’s Philadelphia three-piece Mod/Power Pop group dressed in “Star Trek” styled outfits is a very rare gem indeed. The Fad released a 6 song EP record and faded into obscurity, with lead singer songwriter Frank Max eventually going on to join The Beat Rats.
Kool Kat Musik has produced this collection of 12 original recordings of the band from 1982-1985 that are clearly rooted in the British Mod Revival movement. The tight Rickenbacker jangle and hooks on “Where The Colors Are” is a real treat and “Watch The Sky” is a perfect Invasion-styled jam, like The Association meets Roger McGuinn. The ’80s style comes through on “Countdown” and “Broken Hearts” which sounds like a mix between The Beach Boys and The Records. Each tune is magic and even the instrumentals keep your toe tapping. Unfortunately the sound quality of the existing “source” tapes are pretty bad. However the music is too good to ignore, and power pop completists will definitely want to get this album.
Vanilla “Vanilla 2.0”
The long overdue album from Vanilla (Jayson Jarmon, Sean Gaffney, Carl Funk, Scott McPherson, and Kirk Adams) is ready and its a leap in style and quality. It starts out with the brilliant ballad “The Victim of the Rhyme” that combines melody and dense harmonies to perfection. “Hai Karate Girls” is a pretty obscure reference on this strong jam with horns, keys and guitar on full blast. “Perfect Year” is another gem with lyrical simplicity that recalls classic REM.
On the second half the album shifts to more of a theatrical style, very much like The Blood Rush Hour. “The Curtain Coming Down” has dark cast over its XTC-like drama. “The Angel of Swain’s Lane” is an Irish folk song that seems a little out of place, but the macabre “Twilight” sets the mood back, and the humorous “Monkeypox!” is a gem that combines wicked lyrical skill with a Brian May styled guitar solo. The band closes with an energetic cover of The Raspberries “Go All The Way.” Let’s hope the next album comes sooner. Highly Recommended!