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
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Featured Albums w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 JEFF SCOTT SOTO Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 LAZARUS DREAM Alive (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 RONAN FURLONG The King Of Leaves (Thoroughbred Music)
Power Plays w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)
L.A. GUNS All That You Are (Golden Robot Records)
THE DUST CODA Limbo Man (Earache)
EBBA BERGKVIST & THE FLAT TIRE BAND 68 Twin (indie)
IRON SAVIOR Souleater (AFM Records)
IVY GOLD This Is My Time (indie)
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