Cliff Hillis “Love Not War” EP
Cliff is back! Another EP loaded with excellent songs. The catchy title track is finely crafted gem that works on several levels in the pristine production. The follow up “The Buddha’s Belly” has a little honky-tonk styling that just encourages spontaneous dancing. From there the styles shift from folk pop (“Don’t Drown The Wind”) to mid tempo power pop (“Mayor Of Midnight,”) each song a worthy gem that deserves repeat listens. Of course highly recommended, so pick it up!
Dropkick “Balance The Light”
The prolific Scottish band formed by brothers Andrew and Alastair Taylor and friend Ian Grier continues to develop some of the best pop on its latest album. The bands influences include The Jayhawks, The Byrds, and Wilco with a West Coast easy going sensibility. “Save Myself” is a slow mellow confessional that beautifully opens up mid-way through the song to an instrumental cacophony. The tempo stays the same on the excellent ballads “I’m Over It” and “I Wish I Knew.”
The album theme is a meditation on sadness after a breakup, “Where Do You Think I Went Wrong?” continues the relationship post-mortem. “Out Of Love Again” is a highlight with its jangling guitars and sharp harmonies. Another gem is “Homeward,” with its Neil Young-like melody, and the most upbeat song here “Slow Down” compares well with Teenage Fanclub. Despite it being a somber listen, the compositions are well written. Highly Recommended.