Angel Air 2014
Bath buzz from the past: adding a few self-penned gems to the hit-list, famous scenesters revisit their personal favorites.
The convoluted story linking THE KORGIS and TEARS FOR FEARS, plus lesser known formations GRADUATE and TAKE TWO, takes some graphic charting in order to fully understand where do THE MEANIES come from. But then, maybe, there’s no need to, as this quintet of seasoned artists offer to look at it all from a purely musical standpoint, while throwing some milestones for reference and simply having fun on their debut album.
There’s always been a feeling that STACKRIDGE, where bassist James Warren started his rise to fame, couldn’t provide him with a ground romantic enough to climb the bittersweet heights of THE KORGIS’ “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” which he delivers here with additional, even more aching lyrics as if to bind it to a new version of TEARS FOR FEARS’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” The two songs with similar titles might hint at a certain concept, and the listener is welcomed to discover the covers’ logic, although the ballads’ soulful provenance becomes clear when the disc shifts into the silky harmonies of FOUNDATIONS’ “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” – the sounds inherited from THE BEACH BOYS whose “Surfin’ U.S.A.” in a crunchy English rendition adds playfulness to the table.
Martyn Sheppard and Glenn Tommey’s guitar twang and John Baker’s keyboards pour levity into Jackie Wilson’s “Higher And Higher” before the latter two present an airy, albeit taut, take on their TAKE TWO’s “Stand Up.” But while there’s no question about the ’60s classics’ influence, the lucid reimagining of STEELY DAN’s “Reelin’ In The Years” or the DOOBIES’ “Listen To The Music” feels surprising, if marvelous, just like THE FOUR SEASONS’ “Who Loves You” whence the dance beat, slowed down, is fed into an acoustic essence of FLEETWOOD MAC’s “Dreams” and – who’d have thought? – “Celebration” from the KOOL & THE GANG repertoire, before ska seeps into GRADUATE’s “Ever Met A Day,” less punchy yet catchy as ever. And that can be said about the album as a whole, so there’s a good reason to trace THE MEANIES.