Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Greg Pope - Blue Ocean Sky

Ho-hum. Another Greg Pope album, another aural explosion of power pop goodliness.

Did I say "ho-hum"? I'm sorry, I meant to say...


It's just that over the last five years or so no artist working in this genre has been as consistently great as Pope, as witnessed by him popping up twice in the Pub's best of the decade list. Blue Ocean Sky keeps the streak going strong.

The album has a bit of a quirky beginning. "The Awful Whisper" and "My Resignation" are short song-lets which almost sound as if they belong in a second side of Abbey Road style medley. And, that isn't the only Beatley moment on the record. "I Tried To Like You" has chiming guitars and a great prominent bass line which wouldn't sound out of place if it were inserted into the running order of Revolver.

"Underneath The Sun" is a wonderful slice of early 90's style power pop in a Matthew Sweet vein. "Back Together" is a tune which gets up to speed quickly and never lets up. "Head Above Water" and "You Don't Really Mean a Word" are great back-to-back tracks which achieve a Hollies/CSN vibe with 70's R&B overtones. (Or something like that. You listen to it and tell me what you hear! Either way they are awesome....that's the point!)

It is not the weightiest album you'll ever hear (and the lark-ish "Christmas Snow" adds to that lighter touch), but this is fine music presented expertly. If anything Pope's voice sounds better here than on anything else he's recorded.

This is well worth picking up.

Grade: B+/A-

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