The Nines “Alejandro’s Visions”
A labor of love for Steve Eggers, with the help of Bill Majoros (the Foreign Films) this is a cinematic album that harkens back to the 1950s, from doo wop to the advent of rock and roll. Its like an audio movie musical with the cacophony of sounds opening up “Alejandro’s Visions,” and leads to the best Beach Boys meets The Platters song you ever heard in “I Have Found You.” The album concept is a familiar “boy-meets-girl” trope but its done both seamlessly and brilliantly.
“My Sweet Marie” brings to mind an early Buddy Holly concert, and then the charmed couple visit a amusement park in “Escape From A Small Town” with both rockabilly swagger and sweet harmonies throughout. Eggers heartfelt vocals are in peak form here, culminating in the a cappella “When Our Love Was In Bloom,” and his strongest dramatic statements “Operator (Coming Home To You)” and “And Suddenly” compare well with the best work Jeff Lynne (ELO) has ever done. Other songs recall old Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, but overall this was an album that was impossible to put down, and that’s enough to make it a welcome addition to my top ten albums list of 2016.
Simon Felton “Return To Easton Square”
Another collection of therapeutic/confessional songs from Simon Felton (Garfield’s Birthday) that range from sombre to silly. The catchy piano of “Alibi” has interesting lyrical phrasing “I wanna be your glass of wine…” Simon still has a way with melody as demonstrated on the Donovan-like psychedelic “Goodbye (Again)” and ”It Must Be (A Nightmare).”
While some corny stuff finds its way in “Good Morning Britain” (which sounds like an update of “Act Naturally”) there are plenty of compelling songs here. More highlights include “I Would (If I Wanted To)” and “It’s Obvious.” Give this one a chance and add it to your playlist.