The Ravines “Everything’s Fine”
The Ravines is the brainchild of songwriter, producer and front man Chris Corney (The Contrast, The Quireboys) and drummer James Crossley (The Contrast). They burst on the scene years ago with “Manifesto of a Broken Heart,” and Chris returns with a new album, assisted by Andy Hawkins (bass guitar) and backing vocalist Susanna Benn.
Starting off with the title track it brings to mind Crowded House and The Gin Blossoms. It’s got a great hook that sticks in your head and a chorus that deserves repeat listens. It settles in a mid-tempo dense wall of jangle on “Blue Eyes” and Tambareen” with Corney’s multi-tracked vocal really strong here. Both “Dead Letters” and “Working Class Girl” have a hint of Tom Petty and its gorgeous layered harmonies blend with the guitar lead seamlessly. Not everything sticks in your brain, but most songs here do. Highly Recommended.
Sports Fan “Minor Hits In Major Keys”
Sports Fan is the combo of Dion Read (Piano, Lead Vocals,) Ben Webster (Bass, Harmonies) and Vincent Kemp (Drums, Harmonies) whose brainy piano pop are patterned after Ben Folds Five. “This Is Goodbye” could’ve fallen off of Folds’ first album; it uses some baseball metaphors and has plenty of energy. “Wake Up” jumps around in its composition, with Dion pounding his keys to the rhythm. The love song “Shallow Water” has sweeping chords and “Little White Lies” sharp storytelling that bring to mind the work of Chris Merritt.
Occasionally overly melodramatic, but never boring – a good example being the erratic meter and chords on “It’s Not a Science” and Kemp’s beat keeps pace with each shift. Lots of interesting songs to dig through, and worth exploring. I look forward to hearing more in the future.