Burgess Meredith “A Dimension of Sound”
This band was a big find in 2015, and now the full-length debut arrives. And it’s a pure salve if you miss that 60’s inspired, psychedelic pop that sticks in your brain. George Martin once said about The Beatles’ Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite, “I want to be in that circus atmosphere; I want to smell the sawdust when I hear that song.” Burgess Meredith has taken that challenge over an entire album. Opening with the old piano and child choral is a sweet sing-along, with a layer of creepiness in the melody of “When We Were Born.” Then the calliope melody of “Wendy” delivers the best Bryan Scary song I’ve heard that he never wrote. But the real jewel of this album is the ultra-catchy “Olivia” which brings to mind a lost Elephant Six gem.
The bouncy “In and Out Of True” is another grand melody with a terrific ascending hook, that will give you goosebumps. “Outside” and “Welcome Home” is where the band’s grooviness reaches a peak. “The Leaver” continues its slow descent into Pepperland, each detailed buzz and chime taking us past “The Man From Abilene.” I couldn’t find a bad song here, and after a few listens the details of each song reveal the intricate craftsmanship involved. High on my year-end list and definitely the best psyche-pop album I’ve heard this year.
Mark McCrite “Getting To The Point”
This Mark McCrite (Rocket Scientists) solo album isn’t new, but it is definitely overlooked and a lot of love and care went into writing and recording these songs. Influences from The Beatles to King Crimson are distilled in Getting To The Point. The variety is also evident from “Can You Feel This,” a catchy slice of rock, and then it goes to the emotional ballads “The Truth” and “Slip Away.” The quality of the musicianship is also very high, as drummer Tommy Amato (Rocket Scientists), veteran pop bassist Derrick Anderson (Chewy Marble) and the late Kevin Gilbert (Toy Matinee) assist here.
Plenty of great songs here, covers of the Monkees “Love Is Only Sleeping” and ELO’s “Strange Magic” are both beautifully done. The title track, which reminds me of a Squeeze song with more guitar muscle is another highlight. Vocally McCrite is earnest and dramatic on “They Say” and “So Long,” which was a tribute to Kevin Gilbert. These are near perfect ballads, designed to push your emotional buttons. Overall a very solid album that deserves to be heard.