Cloud Eleven “Record Collection”
Cloud Eleven (aka Rick Gallego) has been a reliable figure in power pop since the late ’90s, and although he’s mellowed he remains a potent talent. Rick honors his musical heroes (and his collection of vintage vinyl) on this new obviously-named album. Nelson Bragg drums on all the songs, and we’ve got assists from a top-tier crew with Probyn Gregory, Seth Swirsky and Rick Hromadka among others.
The Beatles-Beach Boys styled opening track with horns and swirling organs on the title track talks about the effort of the artist just hoping to be “played once in a while.” While this is catnip to a power pop fan, it leads to the dream-like melody of “The Mystic’s Mistake” full of subtle psychedelics and layered instrumentation. “Too Soon Was Yesterday” is an obvious nod to the Burt Bacharach’s heyday and the echoing piano melody “40 Below” adds Seth Swirsky’s solid guitar solo. “Indian Guru” is exactly what you think it is – full of sitar, bongos, and tabla drum, but my favorite track is “A Sadness In Sorry,” a Zombies styled melody with a gorgeous harmony-filled hook. Highly recommended, and worthy of your music collection (vinyl, CD or Mp3.)
The Inexperienced “Too Inexperienced”
The Inexperienced are a London-based act and the creative outlet for Alex Meadows (Jamiroquai, Tom Jones). The straight on pop of “Something To Sing” has an easy going chorus and strong guitar hook. “528Hz” is a bright multi-tracked vocal full of positive vibes, and then Alex dives off head first into prog rock land.
“Microwaving” is a smooth composition that recalls The Alan Parson Project. “No Yeah” adds horns and deep ‘70s bass like a Sly Stone one-off, while “the Shorten Suite” has several melodies combined with an energetic rant against McDonalds fast food. The trippy “Inventor Preventer” uses an electronic talk box and “Real Life Situation” uses funky synth effects to enhance things, the rhythms recall ’80s Herbie Hancock in spots! “Take Me Home” is a gem of a sing along and Alex throws all sorts of instruments into this album, making the combinations a lot of fun to listen to. A real grower of an album, no experience needed! Thanks again to Pink Hedgehog Records for this find.