[Release date 10.01.20]

The cynic in me always puts extra scrutiny on the veracity of projects by the offspring of famous ‘rock ‘n’ roll parentage – in this case, the son and heir of Cheap Trick lead guitarist and principle song writer Rick Nielsen.

But OHBAHOY (an imaginary friend Miles had growing up) – so far as I can see his fourth studio long player, and third with The Rusted Hearts – stands tall in its own right – a finely crafted ‘pop’/rock album that owes as much of a debt to the song craft of the likes of Tom Petty and the extended Wilburys fraternity.

Nicely chiming guitars, excellent vocals from Miles (vocals, guitar), particularly pleasing on the ear playing and 4-part vocals harmonies from Daniel James McMahon (guitar, vocals), Adam Plamann (keys, horns, vocals), Dave McClellan (bass, vocals) and Jeff Werckle (drums), and a well-constructed set of songs all add up to a highly listenable record.

Well-polished, laid back grooves dominate proceedings, and although not breaking much by way of fresh ground, the sumptuous dance hall pop groove of the opener ‘Hand’s Up’ (and ‘Moonlit Ride’) add a facet to proceedings that, in days when The Top Twenty actually meant something, might have merited a Top Of The Pops appearance.

But in this day and age, they’re probably even too ‘safe’ for a Later… appearance.  That means that any success is likely to be further afield, which probably explains the absence of any UK dates on the band’s current European tour.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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