The Nobility and The Small Square

The Nobility “Ashford Castle”

The Nobility has created a modern pop treat. The opening title track about an Irish Castle boasts gorgeous choral harmonies in the Beach Boys tradition. The bands bouncing modern pop of “Wonderful Night” uses those harmonies effectively in the chorus, with a strong beat evoking the band Sunday Sun here as melody soars. “Heart Is Strange” has echoing vocals and layered guitar/synth combos that give it a new wave touch.

From here it takes the danceable pop route with “Rollin’ in The Aisle” and the energetic “On The Sky,” both perfectly fun. Unfortunately “I Can’t Tell You Why” does wear out its welcome, but the band redeems itself with happy sing-along songs like “Alone,””Mrs. Judy May,” and “Sharks” which are like adult nursery rhymes. Highly Recommended.

CD Baby | Amazon 

The Small Square

The Small Square “The Small Square”

Debut release from a veteran power pop duo with roots in Champaign, Illinois plus Wisconsin & Japan.  Paul Chastain (Velvet Crush, Matthew Sweet) and John L. Richardson (Tommy Keene, Gin Blossoms, Joey Molland/Badfinger) create pure, bittersweet pop with some folk rock mixed in. Joey Molland (Badfinger) is one of several guest players here.

“So Low” is an understated opener, but “Dream Faker (Open Your Heart)” starts up as a solid indie rocker that displays Chastain’s ability to weave guitar lines and layer the songs rhythms on top of each other. “SML” is a gentle alt. country plea to “Save My Life” equal parts Wilco and Big Star. “After The Tears” is a beautiful love song with its sweet harmonies, and a rising chorus. “Otherwhile” boasts the ringing chords and catchy chorus that was a Velvet Crush hallmark. Additionally, fans of  Teenage Fan Club, Nada Surf, and Sloan will definitely want to pick this one up. Highly Recommended.