Dowling Poole “One Hyde Park”
The Dowling Poole takes the whimsy and stagecraft of the first album, Bleak Strategies and turns the knob up to “11.” Willie Dowling (Jackdaw 4) and Jon Poole (Cardiacs) have made quirky XTC styled pop with even more layered narrative elements, as the brilliant opener “Rebecca Receiving” is gloomy song about aging played to a bouncy march in a world “shattered and torn.” The manic tempo continues on “Fight, Fight, Fight” with a twisted organ chiming in on the melodic joy of horns, guitars and “ba-ba” harmonies.
“When She Knows, She Knows” is another example of psychedelic Brit madness and “Vox Pops” is full of high melodic sarcasm, with a nice Brian May-like guitar break midway through. The next several track play out like late-era 10cc with “Hope and Glory” and “Bring Back The Glory” having a dream-like quality. “Whatever” actually goes off into a prog-rock trip, before we circle back to the epic title track, with its swelling chorus of “Barbed Wire On The Chelsea Bridge…” Overall no filler, but its also not as immediately catchy as the first album. After repeat listens, you’ll appreciate every “ba-ba” and pop culture witticism. Highly Recommended.
Bill Lloyd “Lloyd-ering”
We all love comfort food. That’s what country-power pop veteran Bill Lloyd released on Lloyd-ering. The goal of a covers album is to introduce the music to those who aren’t familiar with the original and/or make it there own. Lloyd definitely accomplishes this with a very eclectic selection of pop tunes.
The joyful update on the Bobby Fuller Four “Let Her Dance” turns into a much needed Lloyd gem. The key here is Lloyd picks songs that are less familiar to the average listener. Excellent covers of the Byrds “The World Turns Around Her,” The Hollies “Step Inside” and Badfinger’s “Lonely You” are simply perfection. And the instrumental prowess on The Raspberries “Goin’ Nowhere Tonight” begs to be played at full volume. On the ballads, its less so, as both Lennon’s “Across The Universe” and Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Coconut Grove” are songs where the original vocals are more distinctive. Otherwise, this is a sweet collection while we await Lloyd’s next LP full of originals. Highly Recommended.