Album review: EXPLORERS CLUB – The Explorers Club

EXPLORERS CLUB - The Explorers Club

Goldstar Records [Release date 16.10.20]

Less a revolving door band, more a fluid musical construct, The Explorer’s Club’s single constant is founder, Jason Brewer.

This is his fourth album in 12 years, not exactly prolific, but when you spend most of your time flying under the radar, cheered on by hardcore fans, you like to get it right when you break out into the open.

Brewer has a hand in all 12 soungs of course, six of them with eminent producer/musician/songwriter, Emeen (Spirit Kid) Zarookian, the rest with a variety of band/non band musicians.

With an unwavering eye on the tunesmithery and subtlety of late sixties pop, they’ve crafted an album of surprising depth and reach, with songs that often move beyond the shifting sands of pop pastiche onto the solid ground of their own unique sonic signature.

Like all great musicians they absorbed what they heard from the artists they grew up listening to. You could write off ‘Ruby’ as a rework of the Turtles’ ‘Elenore’. Without reaching its hooky pop heights, it has the same sprightly step.

‘One Drop Of Rain’ and ‘Love So Fine’ are rich in colour and mood. Like Bacharach and Motown, Brewer surrounds his vocals with elegant, dancing strings, muted trumpets, and tastefully sounding background singers. The other, a delightful patchwork quilt of sweet harmonies, has hints of the class and sophistication that artists like Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson brought to pop music.

That said, it’s probably two songs in the album’s second half that are the most striking. Beautifully composed and orchestrated, the tune and the lyric of ‘Say You Will’ are clearly autographed by Brewer and Zarookian. They dig deep into the roots of Britpop, unearthing a rawer chord progression, one that stands in welcome contrast to what has gone before. And then ‘Somewhere Else’s restless guitar jangle and droning “psychedelic” vocals go a step further, completely embedding themselves in an era that ended more than 40 years ago.

The band’s fifth album “To Sing And Be Born Again” is released simultaneously. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 February, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 9 February 2021.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)


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