Eric Crugnale “Carol Was Here”
Local Long Islander Eric Crugnale is a pleasant revelation on the scene, a long time session man with other excellent artists (Kevin Bents, Andrew Fortier) who set out solo. Eric’s smooth singer songwriter sound compares well to David Mead or Brian Estepa. The title track has bits of Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach wrapped in the main melody and hooked me right away.
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” is catchy and bouncy guitar pop of the first order, and another big highlight is “I’m So Glad” with it’s 70’s soft pop falsetto. “What We Deserve” is a grand orchestral pop number, with full strings and horns and “Never Thought” recalls Mike Viola’s blend of pop beat and earnest vocal treatment. The album has a few timid compositions, but most of the songs here are brilliant and it ends on the great Michael Carpenteresque “Old Enought To Know” Just add it belatedly to my 2010’s “top ten” pile.
Miami Dan and The Hayes Street Band “Star Of The Beach”
Miami Dan Yoe channels an East Coast Al Jardine perfectly on his opening title track, and the excellent backing harmonies by The Hayes Street Band prove an effective Beach Boys facsimile. Add to this a cadre of musicians including ex-BB David Marks, session favorite Probyn Gregory and you’ve got a winner. The musical themes are adult, but it’s all about the sand and surf on “No Fear.” A bouncy “Look East Again” is a joyful look back on memories of a young relationship. The beautiful piano ballad “Time To Move On” is a memorable duet with Katey Randall’s strong vocals.
The storytelling aspect here is great on “1944,” a bio of WWII veteran. Unfortunately it takes a hard right turn on “Age of Deception” and the politically charged “Take Back America” which are good songs but belong on a John Rich album. The last 5 tracks are remixes by Chris Hicks. I have to praise the craftsmanship and attention to detail in both the songwriting and extensive liner notes here as well. This is no doubt an effective adult pop album that deserves repeat listens.