GospelbeacH – ‘Another Summer Of Love’ (Alive Naturalsound Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jerry Kornelius   
Friday, 21 July 2017 04:30

Gospelbeach Another SummerGospelbeacH (sic) have released a fabulous album of what can loosely be described as Americana but is peppered with pop nous, an indie feel and, whilst not quite hard rockin’, certainly has some power pop/new wave bite.

 

The project is built around Brent Rademaker (previous projects include Further, Beachwood Sparks and the Tyde), who is joined by Jason Soda, sat in the producer’s seat when not playing guitar, and Johnny Niemanns on keys along with a bunch of guests. Although ostensibly a studio project there are live dates (including the UK and specifically the Green Man festival) and the quality of the recording makes one hope this will be the first of many.

 

The album opens with ‘In the Desert’, a tune that delightfully references Paul Weller: “In the desert there’s a thousand things I want to say to you” a crafty reimaging of an urban lyrical to, well, the desert.  It’s a gorgeous dreamy opening tune that sets the tone for the following ten songs. So, we get quality picking, subtle nuances that unfold on fourth, fifth and sixth listens and Rademaker’s voice gliding effortlessly through the tunes with weapons-grade harmony vocals that are pure Brian Wilson.

 

The next couple of tunes broaden the palette: ‘Hanging On’ has a more strident sound, driven by Stax drums and nice lead guitar over organ whilst ‘California Fantasy’ is a shiny, shimmering song, wistful and with a hint of regret but the promise of escape, asking “whatever happened to the California we used to know?” It’s enlivened by a less-is-more burning guitar solo that doesn’t outstay its welcome but rather leaves you wanting more.

 

 

‘You’re Already Home’ is the most overtly Americana song; well, more accurately country rock than Americana, choogling along at a nice pace, the epitome of the great American Cosmic Music birthed in the Sixties and echoed by the Paisley Underground in the Eighties. Whilst the tune recalls the early country rock sound it also has an attractive Sixties psyche-pop feel and, despite the retro influences, it sounds nice and fresh. In fact, the light touch on the production does give the whole album a lovely crisp, modern feel. ‘(I Wanna See U) All of the Time’ takes that pop sound and delivers yet another sunny, cheery tune – more lovely vocals (cool backing vox as the song builds to a climax) decorated with sublime bursts of guitar.

 

‘Strange Days’ is a bit of a trip and the guitar is cranked up a notch or two, but the vocals remain set to gorgeous, and it’s yet another ear worm (Rademaker certainly knows his way around a chorus). ‘Sad Country Boy’ does flirt with cliché lyrically and musically but it’s such a pretty little tune and anyway, the keys and guitar work redeem the song. ‘Kathleen’ is a superb change of pace and style, an up-tempo dance number that suggests a room full of girls in miniskirts and fringes frugging away with guys in Cuban heels, Mohair suits and bootlace ties (yep, Motown meets The Grand Old Opry).

 

 

‘The City Limits’ is the ballad you knew was coming, a delicate piece – sympathetic instrumentation over a careworn lyric, well suited to Rademaker’s voice, at its most redolent of Gram Parsons on this song. ‘I Don’t Wanna Lose You’ – throbbing bass for another toe tapper a glitter ball away from morphing in to a disco tune with Philly strings. ‘Runnin’ Blind’ – starts with a bit of a guitar squall then jumps in to fourth gear for a raucous finishing cut, belting along for an entirely satisfactory closing song that kinda crashes into a sci-fi finale.

 

This is a beautifully self-contained piece of work that is a real tonic in this fucked up world. There’s plenty of superb, angry music around as artists respond to the shit storm we’re living in, plenty to inspire - but you know what, sometimes you just crave some pure escapism. This is that album, buy it and soothe your soul.

 

‘Another Summer Of Love’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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