The Bye Bye Blackbirds “Take Out The Poison”
Bradley Skaught, leader of The Bye Bye Blackbirds takes his traditional power pop band in a new direction with this album, and what you get is a combination of great melodic rock with other genre explorations. The band has several guests including KC Bowman, Brad Brooks and Khoi Huynh (Corner Laughers). “Earl Grey Kisses” is a bass-line led pop confection with a catchy chorus full of “do-do-dos.” The prominent horns added to “Let Your Hair Fall Down” make it a solid hit as well. It then takes a country pop detour with “Duet” as Bradley is joined by Lindsay Paige Garfield. The other pairings with female leads work well too, although the tunes feel like they belong on a different album.
The album’s diversity in rock stylings will appeal to fans of Robert Harrison (Cotton Mather) and Crowded House. The best songs here are flowing with power pop energy, like “Wasted” with guitarist Brad Brooks, the brilliant “Alfred Starr Hamilton” and the Rockpile-like “Poison Love.” Overall, a welcome return for this highly recommended band.
Sven-Erik Olsen “Sketchbook Traces”
Classically trained Sven-Erik Olsen’s debut album features acoustic-based pop that evokes a baroque style, as the opening track, “Pop Bottle Green Eyes” sounds like a lost single from The Left Banke or The Rain Parade. The title track is another harmonically inventive highlight, with influences that range from Brian Wilson to Game Theory.
The tempo slows as the album moves forward, “Lost and Losin’ It Fast” and “Distant Summer” have a sad, daydream-like quality. Fans of the latest Any Version of Me will also appreciate Sven-Erik Olsen for his echoing vocals and dense production style. The last two songs “Sunny Dream” and “Childhood Blur” are not as old school, but more of a textured ’80s style similar to Bauhaus or Joy Division with its heavy reverb jangle. Definitely, music that deserves to be heard.