Donny Brown “Donny Brown” EP
Last year Donny’s talent floored me on his debut EP Hester Street, as his romantic ballads were great examples of songwriting. On his self-titled follow up, the asian strings of “14 Days” keep the pleasant melody from getting dull and “Now You Can Break My Heart” is another good mid-tempo sing along melody.
Then the standouts “Life of A Stranger” and “Just A Friend” take this EP above and beyond the average. The latter is a brilliant ballad about how a friendly kiss only lit sparks for the receiver and not the giver. Catch the slide guitar break midway through this instant classic. “Losing A Part of Your Soul” is another gem with its catchy chorus. “Reach Out” is a lightweight ending here, but this is still a very highly recommended EP.
Icecream Skyscraper “Mercury In Lemonade”
Icecream Skyscraper is the unique collaboration between two power pop icons; guitarist Huw Gower (The Records) and vocalist Michael Mazzarella (The Rooks). The results are surprising, more progressive rock than pop on the opener “Problem.” One of the better songs here is the beautifully layered “Groove Back” with its piano/guitar interplay.
Mazzarella’s distinctive vocal vibrato turn the 7 minute psych-pop “Turmoil” into another treat. However most of the music settles into a mellow space as “Nineteen in 71” and “Mayday” seem like improvisational meanderings. Gower’s guitar will occasionally overpower the melodies, but sometimes it’s just perfect — like on “(Don’t Shoot) The Messenger.” Ending with a fun cover of Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman,” this is an album for the adventurous listener looking for a slow grower instead of immediate gratification.