The Blood Rush Hour “Who Folds First”
Robert DeStefano and his band The Blood Rush Hour excel at many diverse styles of music. They twist power pop, prog-pop, indie-pop and even operatic rock together seamlessly. The production techniques are flawless and they resemble studio masters like 10cc, Allan Parsons Project, Todd Rundgren, and Roger Joesph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish.) Who Holds First probably has some of the band’s finest songs.
Starting with “No More Excuses” it features harmonies akin to The Manhattan Transfer, between a strong guitar lead as Robert DeStefano delivering a scathing political commentary on our partisan stalemate. But as brilliant as DeStefano is, he occasionally goes out of his way to make the music esoteric like the elaborate “He Left The Party (Far Too Soon)” and rock opera castoff “Find Another Russian Dancer.” That doesn’t mean these aren’t good songs, but they seem over-worked on first listen. This is the definition of a “slow grabber” album that needs a few listens to fully appreciate. If “The Space That We Have Made” vocals sounds familiar that’s because it’s Christian Phillips (Sonic Executive Sessions) on lead and he makes this track shine.
“6,4,5, And Sometimes 1” is a catchy, wry commentary on today’s pop “artists” who are too lazy to write originals and “when the genius of creating is replaced by confiscating” other artists work. 10cc, Brian Wilson, and Donald Fagen are all sarcastically name-dropped here. “God’s Wall” is another winner with a memorable chorus. The instrumental passages are nice (“On Folding”) but filler compared to the simple rock and roll earworm of “I’m The One.” Some very poetic orchestral balladry on “I Still See You” and “In Between Time” adds a dash of ELO-styled synths and soaring harmonies making it another highlight. “What Does It Take?” is a nice coda here, with Christian’s vocal giving a hopeful message. Overall Highly Recommended.
Coleman Gota “Fear The Summer”
Coleman Gota’s latest is easily his most accessible album, with great guitar riffs on each tune. Coleman’s drawl is similar to Tom Petty and he’s embraced Petty’s sound as well on “Can I Get It Back” and “Call It Quits.” But Coleman is more than a sound-alike here, he’s mastered the heavy power pop riff on the catchy reverb-drenched “Fear The Summer” and the brilliant guitar-loving gem “What Goes On In My Head.”
It’s not all repetitive riffs,”For A Reason” is a blues influenced song about bad luck, with some great instrumentation and structure that reminded me of Randy Newman. Gota’s whole reasoning for music is explained on “Make A Stand,” just the simple musical statement “you wanna leave a mark, 15 seconds of fame its all you get today.” It’s also got a wicked solo in the break, and “One Mistake” is a more cautious message, with a compelling melody. Many of these songs aren’t that deep, but they have a sing-along quality to their repeating lyrics. Without a single note of filler this is a highly recommended album that might end up on my top ten list somewhere this year.