Ray Paul “Whimsicality”
Ray Paul is a Boston performer very much in the mold of his idol Paul McCartney, on his opener “I Love It (But You Don’t Believe It)” is a straight ahead rocker with a Macca hook and Rickenbacker rhythm. In addition Ray’s vocal timbre is similar, so “You Don’t Have To Prove Your Love” could be mistaken for the ex-Beatle on first listen. But Ray Paul has a bit more bounce to his melodies on “A Fool Without Your Love” and “In My World.” Add in guest appearances by Clem Burke (Blondie), Emitt Rhodes, Terry Draper (Klaatu), Kurt Reil (Grip Weeds), Gar Francis, and you’ve got a top notch album.
A faithful cover of Manfred Mann’s “Pretty Flamingo,” sounds even better than the original in my opinion. Ray’s skill writing those “silly” little love songs like “Jeannie,” is evident as it carefully constructed a narrative about a widower. And a cover of the Grass Roots “Temptation Eyes” is slowed down as the chords resemble “my Guitar Gently Weeps.” He covers Macca’s own “Oh Woman, Oh Why” with a spirited bluesy performance. I may be nitpicking, but I would’ve liked less covers and more originals. Still, this is highly recommended album and… catch Ray performing at next month’s Power Popaholic Fest!
Broken Promise Keeper “Broken Promise Keeper”
Broken Promise Keeper (aka Rob Stuart) is an Atlanta musician who has been a reliable purveyor of power pop for many years and his latest self-titled album still delivers the goods. Starting with “Here We Go” the quick tempo, manic beat and harmonies in the chorus set a good tone even if Rob’s vocal tends to be a bit nasal. “She’s So Cool” is a bit more measured and the mid-range vocal is best utilized here.
However for goofy fun you can’t beat “Sasquatch Love.” This is a great single in the vein of They Might Be Giants about falling in love with a girl who’s “ten foot tall and covered in hair” and its my favorite track here. “Get My Message” and “Play Ball” have good rhythms worth following; the latter song about a dad’s take on Little League Baseball. There are plenty of decent songs here (no real filler) so give this one a chance!