Heirs Of Fortune “Circus of Mirth”
Terry Carolan’s (Blue Cartoon/True Hearts) latest project is a tribute to his friend and supporter Gary Littleton. The band Heirs Of Fortune include Ralph Smith and Robert Watkins (Amnesia), and Robert Woodrich (Just Boys.) After a toy piano pop intro “Invited,” it leads to the polished guitar and mid-tempo “Aster Street Days,” a nostalgic look back to the past. In fact, the focus on wistful longing is the main theme overall, and musically Carolan’s soothing vocal harmonies and simple melodies are comparable to the recent work of Terry Draper.
The multi-tracked jangling guitar strums of “How Can I Resist” and “From Where I Am” suit the band’s melodic approach well. The Beatlesque piano and guitar flourishes of “Face The Light” utilize strings for extra emotional punch. Terry’s mild vocals don’t quite fit the song “Crazy” which calls for a wilder guttural approach. You wish that the band added a bit more muscle or bass fuzz on several tracks.
But the bevy of catchy melodies and memorable choruses here is proof of Carolan’s talent with the brilliant love song “(It Only Took) Forever”and the rare fast paced “Shine.” My favorite here is the gorgeous “Goodbye My Friend,” with its George Harrison styled slide guitar that stands as his final words to the dearly departed. The title track seems to be Gary’s answer back to his friend, and a faithful cover of Big Star’s Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmos” fits nicely here. Fans of Big Star, Pilot, Badfinger and Klaatu will really enjoy this heart-felt album.
Trip Wire “Cold Gas Giants”
Not to be confused with The Tripwires, these well traveled local San Francisco music veterans are Marty Schneider (The Campbell Apartment), Bill Hunt, Stu Shader and Jeff Shelton (Spinning Jennies, The Well Wishers). The album opens with the commanding guitars of “Long Days Gone,” a catchy riff-centered anthem with a densely composed wall of guitars. Both “I’m Not The Enemy” and “Growing Old” are lead by Shelton, and recalls his work with The Well Wishers. More standouts are the jangling Rickenbacker guitar of “These Are The Days” and on “Winter Days” the band adds violins and a sweet bass line.
The band’s hybrid of jangle pop and rock dictates the album as it sways from one style to another, but it also manages to go in another direction on “Saturn V” with its space-themed indie fuzz pop. Virtually no filler here makes this album an audio treat, and a highly recommended addition to my power pop collection.