Gearphoria Vol 4, No 1

GEARPHORIA SEP/OCT 2015 73 REVIEWS u RE-LIC’ ’ D ARTIST: Blinker The Star ALBUM: August Everywhere RELEASED: 1999 VERDICT: BLINKER The Star’s third album, August Everywhere, represents everything that was good in the pop/ rock scene in the late 1990s... and that’s saying something. With help from Failure’s Ken Andrews as chief knob-turner, Blinker’s top star Jordan Zadoro- zny crafted a free-standing masterpiece of lilting guitar lines and soaring strings that meanders with purpose throughout the album’s 12 tracks. The record opens with ‘September Already’, a punchy bit of pop crunch driven by haunting arpeg- gios and a hopscotching piano riff. ‘Below The Slid- ing Doors’ is a sort of extension of the lead track and showcases Zadorozny hitting his stride with a high-level acoustic strum, lush string arrangement and vocal dynamics through the chorus section. ‘Crazy Eyes’ rocks a bit harder built on a twangy guitar riff and punchy synth lines. The cornerstone that August Everywhere is built on can be found in ‘All Dreamed Out’. Again centered around an acoustic strum laced with synthy over- tones, Zadorozny sings “The world shows its love for you with money. You love me? Now I just think that’s funny... and everybody knows you were back- stage making history a home.” The song thunders to a close with a descending synth line over the top of machine gun tom toms. “Pretty Pictures” is an uptempo pop gem, in contrast to “On This Earth”, the mournful piano ballad that follows. The album starts to rollercoaster a bit from this point. The beat picks up again with “I’m A Frac- tion”, but is quickly brought back to Earth by the somber strings of “There’s Nowhere You Can Hide” and the soft, acoustic bedrock of “Right Kind of Girl”, though the latter goes a little nuts bouncing back and forth between a slow acoustic strum and a wall of distorted fury. “Your Big Night, Sandy!” finds Zadorozny back in pop mode and fueled by a muted electric guitar foundation that he lays more noises over. The album closes with “Strange As They Say” and “Star Behind The Star”. The former is a solid chunk of guitar-pop glory served across a driving bass line and grinding guitar that spits and howls at all the right times. The latter is a percussive, string-heavy offering showcasing Zodorozny’s breathy, layered vocals and penchant to mix beauty and chaos. Sometime after August Everywhere , Blinker The Star was dropped from Dreamworks Records. Zadorozny did released another Blinker record in 2003, but Still In Rome couldn’t match its predeces- sor’s brillance. Zadorozny’s Blinker resurfaced in the past few years, releasing albums and touring its native Canada. We Draw Lines was released in 2012, and was followed by Songs from Laniakea Beach in 2013. G ARTIST: Vintage Trouble ALBUM: 1 Hopeful Rd. LABEL: Blue Note VERDICT: From the opening notes of lead track ‘Run Like The River’ it feels good to have a new Vintage Trouble record to spin. Built on the backs of vocalist Ty Taylor and guitarist Nalle Colt, 1 Hopeful Rd. is a worthy collection of strut and heartbreak. From the greasy slide work and gospel hand-clap of that lead track to the backporch acoustic sing-along of the final cut ‘Soul Serenity’, the band delivers an even slab of its retro charm fueled by its members’ unmistakable chops. Tracks like ‘Shows What You Know’ and ‘Another Man’s Worth’ showcase what Taylor knows in the form of his timeless, soulful vocal delivery, while Colt’s guitar shines on songs like ‘Strike Your Light’ and ‘Another Baby’. The high-water mark of the new one comes in the form of ‘My Heart Won’t Fall Again’ -- a near perfect mix of the modern melody and classic soul that has been the band’s calling card since it hit the ground running in Venice Beach, California, back in 2010. 1 Hopeful Rd. is a capable follow- up to the band’s 2012 debut The Bomb Shelter Sessions, if a bit more ballad than boogie... and that’s ok. Safe to say, there is no sophomore slump here. G

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