The Wellingtons “End of The Summer”
The Wellingtons are back, and I consider them one of the best Australian power pop groups when it comes to consistency of over the past 14 years. The densely layered melodies and strong guitar riffs on “Not Getting What I Want” opens this excellent album, with the happiest statement ever about the disappointment of not being a “rock star” in the Bon Jovi tradition. “Over and Done With” has the sharp duel vocals of Zac and Kate and the familiar subject of breaking up. Kate goes lead on the retro girl-bop “Please Be Nice” and “Making Faces in The Mirror,” and Zac brings the soaring power chords to “No Way Could Fail,” both style approaches are unmistakably fresh.
Each tune is distinctive, even the acoustic strums of the title track, a lovelorn ballad that plays like a split-screen musical number. What is especially satisfying is that the song quality doesn’t let up on the album’s second half. “1963” is a jangling gem and my favorite here the sunshine pop “She Rides The Bus” will just linger in your head for days. This is a great album that deserves your full attention, as it makes my year-end top ten list for 2017. Long live The Wellingtons!
Cait Brennan “Third”
Cait Brennan returns with her crew (and producer Fernando Perdomo) with a soulful croon and creates less of a power pop album but more of a rock-soul combination. “Bad At Apologies” and “Stack Overflow” could’ve been done by Tina Turner back in the day, although the overdubbed backing vocals are a bit much for me. The album title is a nod to Big Star (and Cait recorded it at Ardent Studios in Memphis with the same equipment Alex Chilton and Chris Bell used for those iconic albums.) The wonderful “He Knows Too Much” is a big highlight here, full of power and emotion so as the voice-over says “treat her with respect.”
Lyrically Cait has improved considerably, as the sophisticated “A Hard Man To Love” is both retro and modern with a good hook in the chorus. The Prince-Bowie influences come up on “Caitebots Don’t Cry” and the Ziggy-like “Benedict Cumberbatch” (pronounced “Cumber-bitch.”) Some tunes are catchy gems like “Shake Away,” but the album’s second half is a bit shaky – and tries too hard. However, it ends well with the Elton-like ballad “Goodbye Missamerica.” Overall a worthy follow-up to Cait’s debut.