Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Flash Single Review: Gee Up! - Poco Drom

You better buckle up for this one, because the latest single "Gee Up!" from Poco Drom is an absolute stormer of a track, where electronica pumps up the volume with earth shattering intensity. This song is really out there, an extraordinary piece of high-energy music, which firmly establishes this UK artist as a major new talent.

This song would stand out on any playlist; it literally hits you over the head from the start, where an explosive rhythm, releases the type of raw energy that would be celebrated on any dance floor. The song also features some dreamy and wistful backing vocals, providing additional texture to the overall sound. 

Despite it's electronic appeal, the song works equally well, when played on an acoustic guitar and stripped down to its bare essentials.  I know this because I've seen it on YouTube, and you should check it out to.

Despite the artist being something of an eco warrior, living off the grid, and adopting an alternative lifestyle, there is no specific message here as such. The song simply describes the rapturous thrill of a hectic horse ride. The listener is then left hanging on for dear life, as the music shifts through the gears, with an explosive chorus repeating the words 'gee up, gee up' through a melting microphone. This could be an imaginary or real journey, either way, the song works through its fusion of power and simplicity, which never lets up for a second.

All in all, a superb track, which is as original as it is appealing. Here, Hot Butter meets the Cocteau Twins, with a little help from Lenny Kravitz on the way. A fabulous fusion of eclectic musical styles, which merge together in one moment of sheer magic. Poco Drom is clearly worth keeping your eye on, and may indeed be a dark horse for future greatness, who knows? Watch this space.

Poco Drom - high energy with a smile.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Flash Single Review: Try Try Again - Professor Jefferson Band

Professor Jefferson Band are a four-piece band from the USA, who write educational songs for children, and do so with tremendous expertise. Their most recent release "Try Try Again" is something of a quirky classic, featuring lyrics which regard failure as an opportunity, and not something to be feared. The cover sleeve features a picture of non other than Thomas Edison himself, who you may be aware regarded failure as an essential part of the creative process. 

He was in good company as Samuel Beckett, Confucius and Sumner Redstone all believed misfortune to be a prerequisite to success, as long as you don't give up on the way. The fact is, those who never failed never did anything, and this sentiment is outlined superbly here, where harmonica blends with acoustic guitar to create a song earnest in message, but nonetheless upbeat and very catchy. 

The bass playing is excellent throughout, and the drums kick like a mule. The vocals are superb, assisted by lyrics which are warm and informative, providing solace to all those sensitive souls who might be afraid to have a go.  The Smiths experimented with a similar idea in the eighties with their famous hit "Ask," but this song discards the petulant sarcasm of Morrisey, and offers instead, heartfelt sincerity and genuine room for growth.

The harmonica takes centre stage on the chorus, adding further dynamics; hitting the target in almost Dylanesque fashion. The lyrics appear somewhat conversational at times, revealing the type of dialogue that might occur between a caring parent and a sensitive child. Despite this didactic approach, the song is very catchy, and loaded with pop sensibility.

This band truly are the thinking person's rock 'n' roll. They somehow manage to merge sublime musicianship, with a cerebral approach that easily resonates with the listener.   An absolute gift for teachers or parents, trying to find the right message to motivate children.

Professor Jefferson Band - cerebral rock.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Flash Single Review: Catch Me If You Can - Lah-Lah

As a music teacher and musician I have always admired Lah-Lah's commitment to educating children about the joys of live music making. Bearing this in mind, a notification for their latest single just popped into my Insta feed so I thought it was about time I further investigated this band and their impressive back catalogue. The latest track "Follow Me" is great fun, but it was the earlier single "Catch Me If You Can" that really caught my attention. It certainly is an appropriate title considering how catchy the tune is.

The song lays down the gauntlet right from the start beginning with an almost declarative outburst of the chorus, before the verse really kicks in with some verve. Here a lively keyboard fuses with a bass line that pays homage to Peter Hook. The song is upbeat and intoxicating and really captures the attention of the listener with its steady hypnotic vibe.  Here electronica fuses with pop opera where Kate Bush teams up with Sarah Brightman and employ New Order to come up with a backing track.

There's an interesting diversion during the middle eight, where a staccato keyboard breaks up the rhythm pattern, providing temporary respite, before we return to the groove with some vengeance. Additional instrumentation is included towards the end to further build the intensity, before everything is eventually stripped out, to finish as we began. Poetic justice, or simply an interesting arrangement, I'll let you be the judge of that.

This is a truly great song, and is one of many classic tracks that Lah-Lah's Big Live Band have been involved in over the years. It is punchy, melodic and easy to dance to. The vocals are bright and piercing, and lead the song in fine style. Lah-Lah truly is one of Australia's finest exports, with their growing reputation now reaching across the globe. You really need to check out the band's back catalogue, there are plenty more where this one came from.

Lah-Lah - songs to learn and sing.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Single Review: Everyday Heroes - Music With Michal and Claudia Robin Gunn

Well Christmas came early for me this year as I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release copy of "Everyday Heroes" the new single from two giants of independent music, Michal Amy Bush (Music with Michal) and Claudia Robin Gunn. These two inspirational artists have collaborated to create a song that is both educational and entertaining. The tone is upbeat and optimistic, and spreads a message of gratitude for all the essential workers out there doing their best to keep us all safe in these uncertain times.

The opening four bars draw the listener in immediately, with elements of the Police classic "Message In a Bottle" on display. The lyrics are compelling and highly effective, and effortlessly stay on topic throughout. The song is essentially a celebration of essential workers, whether this is postal workers, teachers or nurses, they are all 'heroes' here, with the listener consistently encouraged to 'come and celebrate them all with me'. 

Unsurprisingly, it is the vocals that are the real stand out, and in particular the musical blend of these two superb artists; who combine with breathtaking clarity. We are also treated to some endearing children's voices during the break, who contribute to the growing list of essential workers before finally declaring them as 'everyday heroes'. This warm embrace between the enthusiastic outbursts of the children and the wistful backing vocals of the artists brings a certain sense of vulnerability and charm to the track. The melodic diversion that follows is similarly effective, and cements the central idea that 'if we work together we can keep each other safe'.

The overall arrangement features a highly melodic bass, a hypnotic drum pattern, and some nimble guitar work throughout, constantly searching for space to add additional melody to the track. Towards the end the instrumentation is removed almost entirely, with just the drums and the vocals left to carry the message. Here the song takes on an anthemic tone, inviting the listener to sing along and celebrate these every day heroes 'who make the world go round and round'. 

These two artists clearly understand the power of dynamics, where all the instrumentation is then reintroduced for a final flourish, alongside a sumptuous vocal blend, cleverly adapted to bring the verse and chorus together. It leaves the listener feeling both inspired and informed, and does so with a melody as sprightly and engaging as anything you're likely to hear.

All in all a fabulous song, delivered with tremendous expertise and skill. The message is compelling and delivered with both style and substance. I take my hat off to these two superb artists who have delivered the world a much needed boost, and done so with both flair and imagination. This song is certainly going to be the number one song on my playlist, and you should make it yours too. Also make sure you check out the official YouTube video where, due to the wonders of modern technology, the artists still manage to perform 'together' despite the current lockdown in New Zealand.

Music with Michal and Claudia Robin Gunn - a match made in heaven.