Monday, January 16, 2017

Quickbits : Andrew Joslyn, Kepler Ten, One Ok Rock

Andrew Joslyn - Awake at the bottom of the ocean (2017) A mix of orchestral pop and classical music
Andrew Joslyn calls Seattle his home but he could also call the world of film his home, because Andrew is not only a film scorerer, his first solo CD "Awake at the bottom of the ocean" sounds like soundtrack music in my ears.
He is a songwriter and composer on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Grammy Award winning album "The Heist" and as orchestra leader, performed on The Tonight Show, The Grammy Awards and The American Music Awards.
Andrew has also toured or recorded with Duff McKagan (Guns N Roses), Tom Chaplin (Keane), Suzanne Vega and Judy Collins so he´s hardly an amateur.
"Awake at the bottom of the ocean" contains 11 tracks where 4 are instrumental pieces and the other 7 features various guest vocalists, I´d like to mention 3 of my favorite songs of the album.
"I should have said goodbye before I met you" featuring Susy Sun sounds like a main theme from an early James Bond film, who said Shirley Bassey?
"Mantra for a struggling artist" featuring Billy McCarthy is without doubt the best track of the album and definitely a song Chris Martin of Coldplay wished he had written, it´s a huge hit in my head.
"Desiderata" featuring Mark Lanegan (formerly of Queens of The Stone Age) could be the outcome of a collaboration between Lee Hazlewood and Ennio Morricone. So cool.
(+) The music is beautifully arranged and well-crafted.
(-) The album is a bit uneven and cannot keep me hooked throughout all 11 tracks.

Kepler Ten - Delta-V (2017) New world men
So you think record labels like Kscope, Inside Out Music and Magna Carta are the only ones that releases new great progrock records, now with White Star Records, you have a new force of progrock music to be reckoned with.
White Star Records is co-founded by Chris Hillman and John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost, Lonely Robot) and they are releasing the really good debut album from Southampton based Kepler Ten in February.
Kepler Ten is a progressive hard rock trio that consists of James Durand - Vocals/Bass/Keyboards, Richie Cahill - Guitars/Keyboards and Steve Hales - Drums.
They originally came together to form the Rush tribute band R2 and to be able to play Rush covers, you need to be great musicians and that´s exactly what the guys in Kepler Ten are.
Especially songs like "The stone" and "The shallows" are reminiscent of Rush, but only the music, not the vocals. I get the feeling the bandmembers have listened to Rush´s "Power windows" when they wrote "The shallows", hahaha. But they should take it as a compliment.
Back to the album opener, "Ultraviolet", which is not a good song to open with, it starts promising but the monotone chorus feels like a heavy anchor that won´t let the song go anywhere.
The superb single "Time and tide" comes next, imagine Muse meets Rush with a touch of Van Halen and you´ll get this wonderful rock opus.
The acoustic song "Shallowtail" bring thoughts to Kansas and Prophet, absolutely one of the highlights along with the 10 minute long "Red skies rise". That´s the peak of the album.
Now with Rush not touring anylonger, it´s a farewell to kings but with Kepler Ten around, this ship won´t leave Southampton and hit an iceberg, they will crush it.
(+) If only 10% of all Rush fans will support this band, they will be successful.
(-) It´s a miss to open the album with "Ultraviolet".

One Ok Rock - Ambitions (2017) Color the world yellow
The Japanese rockers One Ok Rock are determined to conquer the world with their contemporary electro rock/pop-punk-ish style, I´m a big fan of their previous LP "35xxxv" (2015) and was looking forward to their 8th studio album "Ambitions" which is the 2nd one to be released internationally.
This band has decided to paint the world with color of hope, namely yellow. We all live in a yellow submarine aren´t we?
"Ambitions" is a good record even though I feel they have taken a more poppy direction, there´s definitely more pop than rock in tracks like "Bedroom warfare", "American girls", "Listen" and "Take what you want".
But the band still knows how to rock in songs like "Bombs away", "Taking off" and the 30 Seconds To Mars-like "We are".
One Ok Rock recorded 17 tracks for the new album where 3 tracks are only available on the Japanese version, the Japanese bonus track "Lost in tonight" should´ve been on the international release instead of "Bedroom warfare" that I simply can´t get into.
In the genre of yellow album covers we can now add "Ambitions" to the same collection as "Three of a perfect pair" by King Crimson (1984), "Flash Gordon" by Queen (1980), "Never mind the bollocks" (1977) by The Sex Pistols and "Zebrahead" (1998) by Zebrahead.
(+) They want more fans and with this record they will get it.
(-) If they will continue this road, they can erase rock from their bandname.

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