Warm Soda “Symbolic Dream”
Matthew Melton’s band Warm Soda wears their late ‘70s, early ’80’s power pop influences quite proudly on the new LP Symbolic Dream. The band would not sound out of place on a double bill with The Romantics or The Beat. The fast tempo of the opening track “I Wanna Know Her” is a pure sugar rush with its simple power chords.
Elements of punk and glam are thrown in on “Just Like Me Before” but unfortunately this approach without much variation gets too formulaic (even for me). Songs repeat the same lo-fi riff and drum beat, with minor changes to chord progressions. And it really could have used a slow ballad here to break things up. Melton’s cool, almost detached vocal works great on “I Wanna Go Fast” and the title track, but like eating too much Halloween candy, starts to loose its sweetness halfway through the album. Still recommended, but in small doses.
Paul Starling “The Wild Wolf”
Paul Starling is back with a vengeance, on the title track of “The Wild Wolf.” It’s a magical combination of Brian Wilson and Lindsey Buckingham with an inventive percussive rhythm. Its the big standout as “Endless Waiting” is a pleasant, but more predictable tune as he pleads “goodbye baby” in front of a fast tempo strum.
Starling carries “Midnight Turns Into Day” and “Seven” and both tunes have a catchy dream-like quality. He gets a lot of mileage with a simple melody, gentle harmony and chord strum on the easy going “Waiting” and he’s mastered those Beach Boys-like ballads with multiple instruments (banjo, ukulele, bass) on “Broken Bones.” Paul describes this as “nautical pop,” and I guess that works as these soothing tunes float into your conscious effortlessly.